Saturday, February 14, 2015

What's a tradition? - Tokyo Dome, part 4

Were you to attend a quilt show in Japan, you might begin to think these quilters had an obsession to detail. Many years ago, before the advent of big quilt shows, I went to a comparatively small gallery quilt show. I never knew if the work was connected to one "school" of quilting or how it was sponsored and put together.

When I entered the first section, most of the quilts were copies of Baltimore Album Quilts. They were just perfect down to the last detail. I was in complete awe! THEN, I entered the hall and ALL the quilts on display had the same degree of perfection. By the time I came to the last quilt on display, I was thinking "this is a case of over obsession"! More recently I have noticed quite a bit more individuality and creativity but the attention to detail can still be seen and admired.

These quilts are from the "Traditional section of the Dome show. It is interesting to me that in addition to pattern choices, tradition still seems to mean "Hand piecing and Hand quilting"

 Take a look at the detail on this quilt by Hisako Murai, named Furu Furu.

Though the individual blocks are the same design, there is a variety of fabrics used, some even with text and different shades of background.

I have to add that in Japan, "traditional" also seems to mean "made and quilted by hand".
The quilting here must have taken hours and days.

Here is another detail ...

And I might add here, that with the crowds as they were, it was practically impossible to get pictures of whole quilts without heads and arms and elbows thrown in....

Flowers are Blooming, is by Toshii Naoi.

Again there is a variety of blue diamond pieces and color values in the flowers. The quilting is also superb. How could any judge pick a winner from just these two ? ,,, and there is more to come.

And this one ...loosely translated as
"Flowers Blowing in the Wind"
is by Sumie Kiyota.

Just look at the perfection in that quilted background!

 And here is still another...

a detail of "Fountain" by Junko Fujiwara.

Another item we saw in rather large numbers among these medallion designs was backgrounds that were shaded from center to borders.

We mused that there might be a quilt school that supplied this type of fabric because it was used in so many quilts.

How about this one?

A little different take on the background, but the same attention to detail.

"Looking up into Blue Skies"
is the work of Toyoko Nakajima.

I think this may have been shown on one of Queenie's posts,

"Work Number 11 for my Daughter"

by Kiyomi Deguichi.

(By and large the lighting was much better than the spotlights used at the Yokohama show but a few has shadows falling across)

Here is a detail of that same quilt.

Note the variety of fabrics selected and the stitching around the interlocking circles.

This "Pattern of Autumn"

is by Mitsuko Shimizu.

This effect of a graded background was all done by piecing little squares of assorted fabrics.

Imagine putting an applique over the top after going to all that trouble!

Another lovely quilt called "Reborn"

made by Yukiko Tanaka.

Each repeat of design, white on red or red on whits is so precisely done.

And that border work ... what a labor of love.

"Courtyard of a Maiden" is another of the medallion designs with shaded background.

This one is by Masako Kumakawa.

All that feathered quilting has to be see close up to be appreciated.

"Wishes for Roses" is another quilt using the shaded background but in a different configuration.

It is made by Yoko Masuda.

Note the feathered quilting on this one!

And, lest you think "traditional" means medallion patterns and flowers to Japanese quilters,

Here is a detail of a quilt called "PEKE" by Hiroe Omori.

I was attracted by the bright colors and variety of fabrics in this work.

The blocks also seemed to be quilted as individuals, each asking for something a bit different from it's neighbor.

Or how about tradition with a twist?

You get almost dizzy looking at this piece by Miyoko Takada.....

called Moment of Green,

And here is a detail of  "Kaleidoscope"

made by Misako Ohnizuka.

Even with all these busy prints, the design is not lost among the black and white alternate sections.

This must have been a fun quilt to make.
...and plenty of work.....

Another corner detail of an amazing piece of work by Megumi Yokoyama,

this one called "Ocean Story" is full of mariner's compasses appliques.

If you are a fan of Lucy Boston as I am, you will appreciate this wonderful rendition.

Though this show is given the word "International" in its title, there were very few quilts that I found that were not made by Japanese quilters.

This quilt was made by Suet-Fern Lee from Singapore.

Having made two quilts in this pattern, I can appreciate the work that went into this piecing.

Another detail I just have to share is this piece made by Kazuko Harada.

Called "Wind Time" she has used one of my favorite Japanese fabrics, Tosa tsumugi, a product of Shikoku which is becoming more and more rare, as it is woven by hand.

The loom is strung with one color, most frequently black, and the color stripes are woven across. I love the muted tones and can identify a number of fabric patterns I have used over the years.

I think this "Light and Shadow" quilt by Michio Arata was presented by all three of us.

It is also a stunning piece of work and I love the way she has managed to ues light on dark and dark on light.

Maybe a new twist on a traditional idea.

How on earth could the judges come up with three awards when every one of these quilts was a prize winner in its own right?

Here are those that were selected.

"Masterpiece of Bricklayer" (looks like it might be Tokyo Station) by Chizuru Naito. 3rd prize

"A Thought"        by Mihoko Taguchi          1st prize
And one more for the road, the second prize winner,  "A Twisted Spool" by Yoko Koizumi.

And, as a parting shot, a birthday girl!

12 years ago in May, my kids brought an orphan puppy home from Tochigi.

When I took her to the vet the next day to get a check-up and shots, the vet said she was about three months old. Counting backwards, that put her birthday on Valentines day.

No longer the skinny little pup, she is pampered and loved by her adopted parents (and over-loved by her Papa who thinks Love =food)!

And, for a dog that is afraid of fire,

she has become pretty cozy with the space-heater.

(Actually, when I picked up the camera, her nose was resting on the base of the heater)

Hope you winter climes people are keeping warm too.


  1. Thank you, Julie, for this excellent post of Tokyo Quilt Show Excellence. Yes, the attention to detail still amazes me after having seen so many quilt shows in Japan. I guess that the art of planning that is taught in Japanese schools is the secret. You need to plan many of the quilts you showed; draw the design, select the colours and then get enough of each fabric to make mirror images and perfect fuzzy cut pieces for the kaleidoscope, then you need time and ability to concentrate, and have storage space for all the parts...
    Thank you for taking the trouble to get names and titles translated.
    Happy Birthday dear Nikko Valentine! Did Papa feed you chocolates?

  2. My, Oh My... such precision and perfection ! I'm in awe (personnaly, my favourite is first prize "A thought"). Such beautiful work is art and certainly requires patience, perseverance, not to mention great skills...
    And then I look at my humble works, with their uggly ducks, and I'm feeling totally amateur, even a bit discouraged... At least I made them with love, and I enjoyed every stitch, they're me, and it's my only excuse... :))

    THANKS for showing, dear Julie !


  3. All those lovely quilts, but, I bet not a one of them will ever be slept under. For my quilts, I'd prefer less detail, and lots more use. Happy Birthday Nikko!

  4. Nikko, Birthday wishes from NZ. The quilts, detail in perfection, my favourite, Megumi Yokoyama, and her compasses. your photos and the closer ones showing the many tiny pieces and fine stitching, what a show, Thanks so much for sharing all this with us.

  5. Lovely photos, thank you Julie! I can't even imagine myself doing that amount of hand piecing, applique, and quilting. Love my machine! "Pattern of Autumn" is awesome. I love that background colour, so dramatic. But my favourite would be Lucy Boston one since I like playing with colour and changing the look. I might try a few blocks if I really have to do EPP.
    Happy birthday Nikko!

  6. The quilts are amazing and amazing in the detail work and the artistic way with colors choices.


  7. Happy Birthday Nikko girl. She is looking a bit stockier than I remember. I'm overwhelmed by the posts of the quilts. Not sure I would survive a visit to the Dome Show now.

  8. Julie I continue to be amazed by the quilting at this show. The time involved is not something I can wrap my mind around. Happy birthday to your beloved dog and Happy Valentines Day to you! blessings, marlene

  9. Gorgeous quilts! I am intimidated by the amount of work that must have gone into each of them. What do quilters do with the quilts once the show is done? Would they ever put these quilts on a bed or are they only to be displayed as art?

  10. Amazing quilts - I could never pick a winner- though I must say - all my choices for winners would have been completely different than the ones actually chosen. I am crazy for the Mariner's Compass quilt. Thank you for the lovely tour.

  11. It must have been fun to go from quilt to quilt, and see all this beauty!! The work is exacting and gorgeous. Thank You for taking pictures and posting them. Happy Birthday to your sweet puppy girl----she looks well-
    loved!! Just as life should be for a good friend.

  12. Stunning quilts!! I just can't imagine the work that has gone into these. And the work that you put into your quilts as you make them all by hand. I have been working on my Grandmother's Flower Garden diligently for over a year now and it isn't even half pieced. I love Masterpiece of Bricklayer best, even though I don't usually like such muted colours they are very effective in this quilt. Hope your pup has had a lovely ball game or walk to celebrate her birthday. :)

  13. Happy doggie birthday wishes!! :)
    Thank you for the photos of these stunning quilts. Your comment about detail is so true. I am blown away by how meticulous each quilter has been. I do admire their patience and precision, but have no desire to do it myself. I am happy to look and enjoy.

  14. Wowie zowie. Your post is a real treat - such spectacular work, and fabulous photos! We are speechless - still marveling at the detail and the many, many hours of labor in these quilts.

  15. What a great post Julie. I can't even imagine making a quilt as detailed and formal as these quilts. They are awe inspiring. I do like the first prize winner this year. And thanks for sharing that detail with the tsumugi cottons - I love those!

  16. Beautiful! The attention to detail is amazing, I would love to try and make a quilt entirely by hand. The "Pattern of Autumn" quilt is my favorite. I am also in love with both of the blue and yellow quilts. I have a thing for blue and yellow this year. I was at JoAnn's Scene Through My Eyes and saw that you were from Cleveland. You missed the coldest February on record this year and lots of snow, we still have two or three feet of snow waiting for a little sun and for temperatures above freezing to start melting