Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tokyo Quilt Festival 2013 - Part 2 of 3 - Tomie Nagano "Noragi 2000 Tsugi" exhibit

Hyakku Ryouran, by Tomie Nagano, 1993, detail

One of the highlights of the show was this special exhibit of Tomie Nagano's quilts.  I was happy to revisit the show just to see her quilts a second time.

Tomie was there on the preview morning, and so Ann and I got to spend a few minutes visiting with her.
Hyakku Ryouran, by Tomie Nagano, 1993

Hyakku Ryouran, by Tomie Nagano, 1993, detail

Some of her quilts are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Noragi 1000 tsugi by Tomie Nagano, 1995

 I told her I thought her quilts were so shibui (beautiful in a classic, restrained way);  she said yes... and (I'm paraphrasing) that she was not interested in creating quilts to "shock" or create excitement, but rather to help the viewer feel that the quilts were a part of the very air we breathe.  I loved that idea.

Noragi 1000 tsugi by Tomie Nagano, 1995, detail 

Tomie displayed the backs of some tops - you can see her paper piecing methods.  

Ann, Tomie Nagano, me

Tomie encouraged questions and graciously allowed photographs. 

Kasuri Diamond Flower, by Tomie Nagano, 1995

Tomie became fascinated by indigo dyed "noragi" - worn long ago in Japan by farmers.  Her grandfather left her many examples, and she continued to collect noragi and kimono over the years.
Double Irish Chain, Tomie Nagano

The English translation provided stated "Her main theme is "home town."  Even though they are called "boro" which literally means rag, the beauty of this cloth comes from the passage of time in an exquisite manner."  (Sounds like wabi-sabi to me, for sure).

North Ground II, by Tomie Nagano, 1994

Tokyo Quilt Festival 2013 - Part 1 of 3

To The Gentle Future, by Noriko Hayashi 

This year I had the privilege to attend the Opening Ceremony/preview as a guest of my friend Ann from the U.S. Embassy.  There was an opening ceremony (many speeches, flowers, a ribbon cutting) and then a brief opportunity to preview the show (deferring to the Princess and her entourage of Secret Service) before the doors opened officially -  first to the quilters and guests, and then to the anxious public.  

Grand prize winner ___________ (name?)

After this, it would be hard to catch a full view of the winning quilts:

Name? _______

We were in awe of this intricate, completely hand pieced and quilted blue and white piece:

Drift Ice, by Toshie Yamagata

Drift Ice by Toshie Yamagata, detail 

I was standing here admiring the following quilt, when its maker shyly introduced herself and was glad to pose for a photo.  I am so sorry I did not remember her name - and it wasn't in romaji on the sign.   

Can someone translate this?


 Log cabins everywhere in this show:

JAPONISM, by _____ ?

Our time with this preview group was so limited, and so I returned to the show yesterday with my friend Julie W, just like last year.  We took our sweet time, talking all the way - it was so fun!

I had my eye out for Sashiko both days, and the show did not disappoint.  Here are several shots of one of the standouts:

Again.... maybe one of my Japanese friends can translate?


OK, who can resist 101 cats?

Or a Bug's Life? (I love the sashiko quilting on this one!)

Bug's Life by Satoko Okamura 

Bug's Life by Satoko Okamura, detail 

Special Exhibition, very American, very crowded, strictly no photos allowed, Julie and I breezed through:

And forged on.  This whimsical piece caught my eye:

Love this:


Keiko Goke is a standout for her use of color:

 I believe this quilt is in response to 3/11:

At this point Julie and I had hit that overload tipping point (the crowds, the overwhelming number of quilts) and we were punchy, and not really actually seeing quilts anymore.  When it all starts to look the same it's time for a break.  We sat in the stands and had a snack, then walked around again briefly, finished hitting the vendors (and knowing I'm returning to the U.S. this summer, I was generous with myself), and trained home.

I arrived home with sore feet but happy eyes (photos) and hands (purchases). I'm already scheming and dreaming for how I might return to Japan for this show one of these upcoming years!

Stay tuned for another post about my favorite exhibit in the show!