A few years ago, while on Pinterest, I remember coming across a most exquisite quilt unlike those we tend to see from American, European and Australian quilters. The quilt's remarkable design, palette and textures were unusual and sublime. Soon after, I saw a few more quilts executed in this same fashion and I needed to know the story behind these quilts and their makers.
My "awakening" to the world of Japanese quilts continued with the purchase of two Yoko Saito books: Japanese Quilting Piece By Piece and Yoko Saito's Japanese Taupe Color Theory, A Study Guide. Books, museums and the internet only go so far to inspire, and I knew it was time to start stitching. Just as drawing from life is the best way to get to know an object or a place, so too, stitching is the best way to get to know construction techniques, the integrity of the cloth, and explore the mysteries of color. Before I could stitch, I needed the proper fabrics - the real deal. I scoured the internet for several months only to come up empty handed....
That is, until two weeks ago when a friend and I attended the AQS Quilt Show in Syracuse, NY, where I found Maria, the owner of Pinwheels. She explained how she is the only person in America authorized by a particular Japanese fabric company to bring these fabrics into America. Needless to say, I scooped up her business card and a gorgeous armful of fat quarters, and then headed home to the sewing machine.
Resolving to spend time getting to know these fabrics, I committed to sewing a block a day for one week from Yoko Saito's Color Theory book. Each day was filled with excitement, potential and a growing pile of very small scraps! While these photos document my blocks, the results are even richer and more textural in person.
My initial experience working with these Japanese fabrics is so unlike working with American fabrics. Each square inch of fabric offers its own range of possibilities that affect color, texture and the overall design aesthetic. It's like sitting in Design class at college all over again, studying the magnificent color studies of Josef Albers, only now it's with fabric. Suffice it to say, learning to speak a new language is an exciting adventure! My mind is chock full of ideas. I feel a connection with these fabrics, and will continue to share what I make and learn, right here.