Thursday, August 30, 2018

Birmingham Festival of Quilts—Japanese Beauty

As Kara mentioned last week, we enjoyed our two-week stint together, attending the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK, and enjoying lots of day trips near her home in Germany. I (Teri) came home happy and exhausted—and laden with new needles and threads to try, a bit of fabric, and a fair amount of chocolate. (Oh, and thousands of photos!)

Two exhibitions at the Festival of Quilts that really drew us in had something in common: both featured the work of Japanese quilters. The first showcased the work of just one quilter, Shizuko Kuroha, far left. Her exhibit, Indigo & Sarasa; Pieces of My Life, was awe-inspiring, and she sat amidst her quilts placing tiny stitches in yet another work of art. You can find her work in her book Pieces of My Life—a story of fabrics and passions, published by Quiltmania. We hope you will enjoy her quilts as much as we did!








Wouldn't you agree that her work is absolutely stunning? The incredible detail in her handwork tells some beautiful stories! My pictures can't begin to capture the awesome work in Shizuko Kuroha's quilts. We were so glad to have seen them in person.

The 14th Quilt Nihon Exhibition was the other area where Kara and I spent a long time studying the fascinating detail in the handwork these quilts displayed. This exhibition is organized by the Japan Handicrafts Promotion Association, who trains instructors and promotes the art of handwork. (If you click that link, you may need Google Translate.) Following are a few of our favorites—it is all about the details!

 Many Cherries in the Garden, by Takeko Sato; 
Traditional Silver Award

Crocheted flowers, embroidered flowers

A bit of cross stitch

And these charming rickrack flowers!

Welcome to the Heavenly Flower Garden, by Yukiko Nakao; 
Traditional Bronze Award

Detail: center medallion

I love how these sprays of laurel leaves create a box around the center circle.

That sashing—perfection! 

For You, by Yumiko Takami;
Traditional Honorable Mention 

Detail: center medallion

Detail: border—some tiny quilting with trapunto!

Blue Sky–Feather Appliqué, by Yoko Suzuki;
Traditional Corporate Award

Detail: Those circles are tiny, and each feather in the border is appliquéd separately!

 Detail: And after it was all quilted, she embroidered it with feather stitches in concentric circles. Wow.

Final Baltimore, by Kimiko Hasumi;
Traditional Honorable Mention

We really loved this Baltimore Album-style quilt in this unique colorway. Kimiko Hasumi's use of fabrics and the subtlety of her color choices gives these familiar Baltimore patterns quite a different look and feel. It was certainly a one-of-a-kind Baltimore! Isn't it wonderful to know that the Baltimore Album quilts of old are being remade even in Japan? 

That's all for now. Are you inspired? We surely were!!