Friday 31 January 2014

More inspiration from Alyce

Today we have a special guest post by Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts...

I'm thrilled that the Le Challenge ladies thought of me for this month's theme, Rising Sun. After all, living in Japan, I live and breath (and sell) Japanese fabric! We are Aussie ex-pats living in Chiba (right next to Tokyo on the Bay) for 4 years for my husband's work and we're almost halfway through that time.

  Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival 2014

Recently, I was was able to attend my second Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival. It is a massive quilt show held at Tokyo Dome - an indoor baseball stadium! Aisles and aisles of quilts and shopping are laid out on the field and it is a sight to behold when up in the stands, the hordes of people swarming around.


Despite being a "Great International" quilt show, it's very Japanese. The signs next to each quilt are mostly in Japanese, with only a few naming the quilt or quilter in English. All the Special Exhibits are in Japanese, leaving you to guess what's so special about the featured quilter, other than their amazing creativity and technical skills of course! And of course, most of the quilts have a "Japanese look" to them, which I've been pondering and trying to identify just what it is that makes them look so Japanese.

  The Fabric


 This the most obvious one, of course. The use of indigo fabrics and Hawaiian solids (ombre effects) are widespread, using various shades to create a fascinating visual effect.


 Then there is the use of popular Japanese fabrics like First Of Infinity. Granted, this particular quilt is by Kumiko Fujita herself... 

  The Style


 Other than using solids to create unique visual effects, and bold graphic designs like Fujita-san, Japanese quilters are also big fans of the scrappy quilt. When they do branch outside solids and use a variety of print fabrics, it's always with a scrappy effect. And usually with incredibly tiny, hand-pieced designs!


 Art quilts are also highly popular, in particular the highly-lifelike variety. This quilter used tiny pieces of fabrics and sparkly thread to create this incredible cherry blossom quilt, accurately recreating the light and shadows, the colours, and, the light and airy feel of the blossoms.

You can see all my photos from the Quilt Festival in my Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival Flickr set, as well as the 2012 Yokohama Quilt Festival, the 2013 Tokyo Quilt Festival and the 2013 Yokohama Quilt Festival for more Japanese inspiration! And if you are ever in my neck of the woods, I'm always happy to help out with recommendations for fabric shopping in Tokyo.

Thank you so much for the fabulous inspiration Alyce!

Remember to come back and link up your Rising Sun projects on 15th February for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop.


  1. Thanks for the inspiration ...the quilt show makes Exeter's a bit insignificant!

  2. I am currently my working through some Japanese patchwork and applique blocks for my Patchique quilt (just Google 'the Patchsmith' or 'Patchique' for details of the blocks made to date). I am using Susan Briscoe's excellent 'Japanese Taupe Quilts' book but I am using raspberry, green, tan and cream as my colourway. The different colors change the Japanese look of the blocks completely. But you are right, it is not just the colour - the style is also very significant.

  3. I find the Tokyo quilt shows so fascinating. There is a different style that is unique to the show and area. Seeing those always broadens my design horizons. Thanks for the pictures of it!


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