January 12, 2016: Japanese quilts at the New England Quilt Museum (Part 1)

Greetings!  As I mentioned in my last post, I traveled the next day to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA to see their current exhibit of Japanese quilts – all winners in one of the prestigious Japanese quilt shows, “Quilt Nihon,” in 2014.  WOW!  The quilts are incredible!  I strongly advise anyone within driving distance of Lowell to get to this show.  It doesn’t close until May 1st so there is plenty of time.  I am almost certain I’ll be going back to see them again.  Today I’m going to share 4 of my most favorite quilts from the exhibit.  Please click on the pictures to enlarge them so you can really see the details – it’s well worth the extra time!

My favorite quilt was “Sun Rising,” an incredible showcase of design and construction skill.  Her choice of fabrics was out of this world and I loved her unusual background fabric.

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I love the medallion style quilts that many Japanese quilters make and the following is an excellent example and was one of my favorites.  Impeccable design!  One of the originators and best makers of this style design is Noriko Masui, a quilting hero of mine, though this one is not hers.

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This next one is all applique and the trapunto and hand quilting are exquisite!

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This quilt is very modern, but stunningly done!  The sense of movement and the feeling that things are flying everywhere in a swirl is amazing; I’d love to learn how she constructed this!

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This next quilt is also very modern, but I like it.  It was particularly interesting to see an artist use circles in a very different manner than those of us participating in the year long circle a day sew-along.  I like the irregularity of the “circles”; the spirals in the quilting are very effective. It was interesting for me to see the quilted spirals as i have been thinking about using spirals as a quilting motif in my “We Are Stardust” quilt when I finally get to the hand quilting.

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I’m saving many other quilts from this show for another post or two or three.  In addition there was a very nice exhibit of red and green antique quilts at the same time so I have quilts to share from that as well in future posts!  Another great reason to get to this show!

Meanwhile, I have kept up with my daily circles.  Here are my newest ones:

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I saw a picture in one of my Japanese quilting magazines of a wreath appliqued onto a bag and thought it would make a great design for my next “Sweet Journeys” block.  Here is the picture of the bag and may draft of the design:

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Next steps are to select fabrics and make templates….  The ring is embroidered rather than appliqued and I think I am going to keep it that way.

I have been hand quilting Stella Nova and would say the quilt is about 3/4 done!  Will share a picture next time.

I’ve been reading some excellent books.  I strongly recommend “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.  He is a physician who presents and discusses several stories of people (including his own father) dealing with end of life issues.  One of his major points is that most of us – and our society in general – are not ready to deal with death in a healthy way.  The end of our lives will be much more peaceful and comfortable if we face facts and prepare ahead of time.  It does no good to put our heads in the sand and deny this problem.  Read this book!!!!

I also strongly recommend “The Faraway Nearby” by Rebecca Solnit.  She is a fabulous writer/essayist.  I knew when I read this book – a nonfiction memoir of a time in her life when she was dealing with her mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease and a health issue of her own – just over a year ago that I needed to read it again because I had read it too fast to spend time thinking about all the things that her sentences and paragraphs and chapters make one think about – a lot!!  It was wonderful, as expected, the second time around.  The book is easy to read but a great challenge intellectually because it really makes you think about things; love how her mind goes off in interesting directions with erudite thoughts and connections.

Be grateful, be kind, and cherish each day!   Gladi

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