Saturday, September 26, 2015

American Export: Contemporary Quilts in Japan

Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters: The Story of an American Import by Teresa Duryea Wong shows how the American quilt revival sparked a revolution in Japanese fabric arts, and presents contemporary Japanese Quilt Artists who transformed the quilt world.

American quilters well know that quilts from Japan display remarkable technical and creative skills. Wong explains the rigorous and exacting Iemoto system of education. Students learn in a classroom setting under a master teacher. A long term commitment is required as students master the craft, progressing from basic to instructor level. Emphasis is on hand workmanship, a highly valued skill with a long tradition in Japan.

The result of this traditional form of apprenticeship is evident by the many awards taken by Japanese quilters at international venues.

Alternately, some quilt instructors, not certified in the Iemoto system, teach in the 'American' way, allowing students to work at their own pace, acting as a mentor. Long-arm quilting is more prevalent in these schools.

Part One of the book covers:
  • Japan's Quilting History: A Heavy Dose of American Influence, including the Whitney Museum pivotal quilt show in 1971 to the American television show "Little House on the Prairie" which showed quilt-making and quilts
  • Learning to Quilt in Japan: Two Schools of Thought, the Iemoto system and quilters like Noriko Endo who are 'outsider' artists
  • 1990: The Year of the Quilt, the year of Quilt Nihon and the first All-Japanese quilt show
  • Japan's Gross National Cool and the J-Quilt
Kabuki by Katagiri, winner of 1st Quilt Nihon Show
Part Two presents eight contemporary Japanese quilters representing various styles:

  • Yoko Saito and her Japanese Taupe color theory
  • Yoshiko Katagiri who uses kimono silks in her appliqué quilts; see her quilts at Quilt Inspiration
  • Noriko Endo who uses 'confetti' fabric scraps to make amazing quilts like those seen here
  • Chiaki Dosho whose fiber art pushes the boundary of 'quilt' as seen here
  • Yoshiko Kurihara, anime artist turned quilter uses the iconography of Harlequin clowns as seen here
  • Keiko Goke whose colorful interpretations of traditional blocks are delightfully 'off kilter.' See her DoubleWedding Ring here

The book is oversized with 200 full color photographs on every page. It is an elegant book, down to the type font and layout.

Altogether, it is an informative and inspirational book that quilters and art lovers will enjoy.

Visit Wong's blog here.

I received a free book from Schiffer Publishing in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters: The Story of an American Import
Teresa Duryea Wong
Schiffer Publishing
$34.99 hard cover
ISBN13: 9780764348747