Sunday, September 23, 2018

Over Japan, Quilt 2: Everything But Kitchen Sink

Two weeks ago, I showed off the first quilt made from from my collection of Japanese textiles. The second, below, at 95" x 76", was supposed to be its back - but I liked it so much I decided to make it the front of another quilt. It features a banner memorializing Hokusai's iconic 1829 Japanese woodblock print, "The Great Wave at Kanagawa". 
Above and below it, I put scrappy log cabin blocks in a zig-zag setting to echo the wave.  In the top log cabin wave, the zig-zag is light:  
And in the bottom, it's dark: 
The middle has fabric printed with waves, with koi fish, plus a pieced checkerboard.
I also threw in some kitchen textiles (though not an actual sink). The daikon (radish) on the top is part of a set, so artistically and wittily rendered - they hung in my kitchen for years before I finally set it into this quilt.
The reddish vegetables below it, from the same set, may be carrots, may be some other kind of radish - I'm not sure. I especially wish I knew the name of the artist who created these wonderful designs.

On the lower right of the quilt, the fabric on the top is a furoshiki, a carrying cloth (polyester stabilized with fusible interfacing), embellished with traditional wooden dolls. The red fabric in the middle is new Hello Kitty cotton yardage, of course, and on bottom....
....that's a rectangle cut from a Japan Airlines apron found at a yard sale (in California)! If you look closely around the pocket you can see the print celebrates locations other than Japan, too - Athens, Los Angeles Mexico, Australia. I love the idea that a flight attendant might have worn this.
Why combine root vegetables with ocean waves with Hello Kitty?

  1.  Keep in mind that this was originally supposed to be the BACK of another quilt, so I wasn't thinking too hard. 
  2. But deeper in my mind was this: If you visit Japan. you will experience the intense vibration created by its austere traditional aesthetic rubbing up against its ultra-modern high-energy high-density complexity. It's one of the most mind-blowing places in the world. More Japanese textile quilts to come! 

Japanese Quilt 1

14 comments:

  1. The Great Wave and Hello Kitty deserve to be together on the same quilt. Very cool and very fun!

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  2. You are just a genius, Cathy. I'm so glad you gave this top-worthy patchwork its own locale.

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    1. Genius may be a small overstatement, Eleanor, but thank you. Yes, this quilt is now its own person, all dressed up and nowhere to go!

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  3. With six degrees of separation, koi are fish. If kosher then could be gefilte in which case you would need (horse)radish...

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    1. It never occurred to me to eat a koi. I hear they cost thousands of dollars, so it would make an expensive gefilte fish. Which defeats the historical purpose, as I understand it, cheap eats! Thanks for the connections, Chaya!

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  4. Really cool! I love Japanese fabrics and I made Jim a whole lot of shirts from Asian prints.

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    1. If I was good at garment making, Deb, I would do the same thing (for me!)

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  5. It's so wonderful that you are using the fabric! I have certain pieces in my stash that I'm hesitant to use because I love looking at them in their bundles. It's really great that you were able to design these quilts to use them and enjoy them. They are beautiful!

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    1. Rena, thank you, I know the feeling. It took me a long time dare to cut into these things!

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  6. The daikon is gorgeous. Although I couldn't figure out the artist's name, I could find that the same image had been used in "Uesuda Fusa's good news book - January 1, 1981" (my thanks to Google Translate.) Perhaps other, more able, Japanese-reading readers can take the hunt for the artist further from here:

    https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E4%B8%8A%E7%94%B0%E3%83%95%E3%82%B5%E3%81%AE%E3%81%8A%E3%81%9D%E3%81%86%E3%81%96%E3%81%84%E6%89%8B%E3%81%BB%E3%81%A9%E3%81%8D-%E4%B8%8A%E7%94%B0-%E3%83%95%E3%82%B5/dp/4789546101

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  7. Oh my gosh, Liz, thank you for doing the research! That image looks like a mashup of an old print, with new art added. There's a readable caption under it, but I can't read the Japanese either. I would love to know!

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