Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival 2014 (Tokyo Dome show) part 1

Long awaited with much anticipation, the week-long show has begun.
For me, it was as much about friendship as it was about quilts.

"Queenie" and I had plotted and planned for weeks ahead to meet for the day, beginning with the opening ceremony. Because of her work behind the scenes and connections, she as able to supply me with free tickets so I could really enjoy the show more than once.

The opening was attended by the organizers, The ambassador and his wife from Finland, and even an Imperial Princess. In this picture after all the speeches were made they are cutting the ribbon in the opening ceremony. NHK was busy filming assorted aspects of the show and later my husband watched events on TV at home.

On opening day, there was a bit of time to view the show before the general public was let in.
Who needs a princess when you have a queen to shadow?  We set off to view the "traditional" Quilt Category.

One of my frustrations of the past 12 years is the practice of putting all information  ... title ... maker's name ... and other details in Japanese ONLY. This year was no improvement. Even the catalogs of the show are all in Japanese.

I am certain every one of these participants knows how to write her name in "Romaji" or Roman script. It is difficult enough to translate the quilt titles into English, but names are a challenge even for Japanese. (whenever you fill out a form of some kind, there is a space above the written name to note the pronunciation ... since many characters can be pronounced more than one way) Even so, s simple common name like Sato could also be written Satoh. Only the person possessing the name would know.
There were very few foreign quilts so where are the "International" aspects? Only in the public that attends?

This "Flower Garden I long for" was made by Michie Arai.

Here is a detail of the hand applique and embroidery.

Although machine quilting is beginning to make inroads to Japan, the traditional category was mostly hand pieced or applique and hand quilted.

It is hard to imagine the amount of time these quilts would take to complete.

This "Wreath and Small Birds" is the work of Sachiko Serizawa.

Each of these little birds was carefully appliqued in a different combination of fabrics.

Note the fine hand quilting.

"Blue Forest" by Sawada-san uses those same types of "Japanese Taupe" fabrics and is a masterpiece of detail in piecing and quilting.

This "Everybody Shining"

was made by a person whose name could be read either Shioya or Shiotani.

Even the Japanese viewers probably don't know her name by reading the kanji.

At any rate, it is a quilt with quite a lot of work involved.

Note the poor lighting caused shadows on many of the quilts. I guess I shouldn't complain because it has only been in the last few years that photographs have been allowed.

"Moment of Heightened Pleasure"

is a simple Amish style quilt that is anything but simple.

Created by Satomi Makino, it is closely quilted in trapunto.

Check out this detail!!!

Here is a detail of  a quilt called "Heart Compass"

By Masako Yoshihara.

Look how she fussy-cut the fabric on each of those rays!

And if you like sunburst or compass patterns, here is another detail of "The Sun of Tenochtitlan"

The center star has a huge Aztec figure and you can see smaller figures embroidered in the corners.

Note those tiny mola border blocks and fine quilting.

This is the creation of Miki Kanno.

"Cool Breeze of Highland" was another quilt with fine detail.

This one was made by Kazuko Ito.

Loosely translated title of " Harmony towards Reconstruction"

Well, even titles like names are sometimes difficult to figure out.

This quilt with many tiny pieces was made by Chieko Kudo.

By this time in the show, the thundering hoards had arrived and it became more and more difficult to take pictures without heads and elbows or whole bodies covering them.

For many years I had given up trying to see these shows with other members of my quilt group. It is hard to keep a group together under the crowded conditions and many people are interested in only parts of the exhibit or shopping in the stores. It has been a joy to go along with Queenie to more than one show. We move at about the same pace and both of us notice different things even in the same quilt. Often her observations give me cause to take a second look and find things that attract me in quilts I might have otherwise passed by. She is also a font of information so please pop over to her posts . Also check out my friend,
Tania, who met with us the following day. (Yes, two days so far and I have only covered the first hour spent there).

For now, this is probably enough to whet your whistle. Tomorrow after church, I will be doing nature study with the scouts. (my other life) My camera took quite a while to down-load so you can imagine there is a lot more to come.


  1. Julie every year I look forward to seeing your photos of these quilts. The intricacy of the stitching leaves me in awe. Blessings, Marlene

  2. That was a great post, Julie. It was like being back at the show! I am glad we have different likes as I had skipped taking pictures of some of these quilts. The two last ones I can't recollect!! My guess is that Harmony towards Reconstruction is a quilt made alongside the reconstruction work of the tsunami hit Tohoku district.
    Looking forward to another trip down Memory Lane.
    ps. Thank you Mr Fukuda for helping Julie with the difficult Japanese script.

  3. thanks for sharing I love seeing the photos from the Japanese quilters - they always have such wonderful hand work which I so admire and I know I can never match because I don't take my time! I'm always in too much of a rush.

  4. Thank you for sharing the photos and your experience. I have only recently been reading and researching about Japanese quilting, and thinking how fabulous it would be to go to Japan on a textile/quilt tour. The Japanese aesthetic is so beautiful. I have even been trying my hand at sashiko after going to a recent workshop, and becoming obsessed with boro! Looking forward to following your blog.

  5. Julie -- this brings me back to last year and the year before that -- I look forward to more of your photos and commentary! Those little appliquéd birds are wonderful. All of it is "wow!"

  6. Gorgeous quilts, oh my goodness! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for sharing the photos of your trip to the Quilt Festival. The quilts are wonderful, though I especially love the Flower Garden quilt.

  8. I am so happy that you got photos, fun to attend with you. I really love the bird border and the work on the quilts is beautiful.


  9. This is truly an event not to be missed, so many there, and stunning quilts with exquisite hand stitching." Heart Compass" my favourite, naturally. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Greetings from Jean

  10. It seems as if you are having a fabulous time Julie and thank you for sharing it with us, it's so wonderful to see details of the amazing quilts. Your comment about all the labels and the catalogue only being available in Japanese set me thinking. I wonder whether catalogues to the Festival of Quilts for example or any of the other big shows here are available in languages other than English, the labelling certainly isn't. Thank you for your translations, maybe you could get yourself a job with NHK!! Looking forward to further posts,

  11. Fabulous day. I'm in awe of the hand quilting. Amazing - thanks.

  12. Julie - I really look forward to your posts and photos from the Quilt Festival each year. Thank you and Queenie for allowing all of us to tag along with you as you explore these magnificent quilts!! - ;))

  13. Beautiful photos and a wonderful day of friendship for you! Thank you for taking the time to share your day with us.

  14. Well, what can one say but "wow!"?
    best, nadia

  15. Beautiful quilts! I find that I now enjoy going to quilt shows by myself since I can go at my own pace.

  16. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time there, too.

  17. Hi I am here from Tanya's blog. I really enjoyed going to the quilt show with the three of you. it is interesting how different things catch our interest. These are fantastic quilts!

  18. Gorgeous quilts!! Thank you so much for sharing all of the photos!

  19. Hi Julie ! I had no idea there was so much official ceremony attached to the show. I cannot imagine the difficulty of getting photos with those crowds. Thank you for sharing the show experience!The taupe quilts are absolutely beautiful...Especially that Blue Forest quilt. It is really nice to see some colorful quilts too- like the Wreath and Small Birds with its blue background - that is such a pretty quilt. Also, the quilting on the Amish quilt is truly amazing. Wish we were there.

  20. The quilts are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photo's.