Monday, August 13, 2012

Beautiful Flying Citrus Kimono Life

I lived in Tokyo in for about a year and a half, and one of the great pleasures was the Japanese English, used as decoration, on garments, accessories, and advertising. It was inventive, earnest, wacky, and often poetic. I particularly enjoyed the corporation whose slogan was: "For Beautiful Human Life." Wow. That just sums everything up.

Another great pleasure of Japan was the extraordinary design and pattern, everywhere - on subway posters, billboards, magazines, and, of course, traditional items like paper, dishes, and textiles. This was before I was a quilter; I'd spend hours in paper shops, thoroughly grooving on each piece. Years later, after I became a quilter, I naturally began to collect Japanese fabrics 

But this particular quilt didn't start out Japanese, at all.  I'm not sure what I was thinking when I combined a trendy daisy print with a Jetson-esque heavy linen fabric featuring 1950s boomerang shapes, with, heaven help me,  grapefruit, pomegranate and grape fabric. I think I was looking at COLORS! And sewing strips together! It was some kind of therapy! I dunno?! 

After I acquired a Marilyn Doheney wedge-shaped ruler, well, no strip set was safe - I cut wedges on a slant, and next thing you know, I had this:  


Mandala, medallion, whatever, as you can well imagine, it  sat in my UFO cupboard for a long time. Every now and then I'd pull it out and ponder. I really don't know what someone slipped into my coffee the day I decided that the medallion looked really great next to a swatch of kimono fabric. 
 It took me many more years of putting the thing away, pulling it out, potchke-ing around with it, putting it away, etc. before I came up with the striped background, the purple daisies...

...but wait, there's more! I took a class with Ricky Tims, and had a class leftover, which went on the lower left side - it looks like light coming in through windows. The painted fabric, inspired by a Sherrill Kahn book exercise, wound up on the lower right, and of course, the whole thing need three improvisational stars along the bottom. 

So here's what we have! Looking at it gives me a bit of a headache, but fortunately, my spouse loves it, and hung it in his new office.

 I hope it gives him a beautiful human office life.


  1. Wow! Incubation does wonders. A happy uman life, indeed.

  2. Cathy, this is gorgeous! I love the colors. Your hubby must have the most cheerful office in the whole building!

  3. I love that quilt! What a marvelous ungepatchka evolved into beauty. Someday I want to visit Japan, too...

  4. Fabulous use of blues and colors. Someday I hope to see it in person.

  5. Jeri, I'm so glad you like it! Come back to Caltech! And Japan is amazing, amazing, amazing.


Thank you for commenting!