Jun 16, 2018

one very special Japanese master quilter: Yoshiko Katagiri

May 2018: I made my annual pilgrimage to Japan and while in Tokyo, I visted a strange and lovely quilt exhibition. 

Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is a "museum hotel"... a very upscale and historic place.



The venue included seven large galleries, some with traditional tatami mats, and each gallery was a work of art on its own with inlaid tiles and very traditional Japanese art on the walls. The rooms were beautiful, but also had very strange lighting on the quilts. So my photos look a little odd....


Many of Japan's master quilters were represented. The exhibtion was juried / invitation only. It was fun to see many lesser known quilt artists too. One quilt in particular caught my eye: this one of the four seasons by Yoshiko Katagiri.

Yoshiko Katagiri has been making quilts for decades, and each year, her quilts get more and more original, more abstract, contemporary and interesting. I was fortunate to see two of her newest quilts during my trip.


Each of these sections represent a season - from the left: spring, then midnight in summer, then fall and winter.

The beautiful circle are hand applique and made from antique silk kimono fabric. And the quilt is hand quilted.


The second Yoshiko Katagiri quilt I saw was at the new festival in Yokohama - Quilt Time Festival.


This quilt is a beatuiful tour-de-force in hand applique. The background is her signature dusty black, all hand-dyed to her specification. The rest is all applique, mostly antique silk.

Yoshiko, and her daughter Masako, have become friends of mine over the years. I have visisted their home in Nara. And Masako is a quilt researcher, so we enjoy helping each other and exchanging notes. I feel so lucky to have met them and count them among my growing group of Japanese friends.


We met for lunch while I was in Yokohoma and snapped this photo after. Its an apt depiction of Yoshiko - she is ALWAYS smiling and laughing. And even though we do not speak the same language, we communicate easily through the language of quilting!









May 24, 2018

conquering the Kyoto flea market

See that red bag? Its filled with antique and vitntage Japanese cotton fabric... purchased today in Kyoto!


On the 25th day of every month, the Kitano Tengmangu temple in Kyoto hosts an open air market. Veterans arrive early for the best stuff!


I conquered my jet lag and bravely arrived at around 630 am. Long before the crowds showed up!

Look closely at everyone's hand in this photo....

They are waiting for the stall owner to lift the tarp and open for business!!! Their hands are holding the fabric they will grab when the tarp is lifted. I had my hand on quite a few amazing goodies as well. 

Here are a few highlights. Vintage Yukata...



And some very old antique Katazome and Kasuri. So lovely.


Beautiful start to the day.

May 18, 2018

tomorrow, tomorrow... off to Japan


Tomorrow, tomorrow... (in the words of "Annie")... I'll be heading back to Japan. This visit will be mostly vacation, versus most of my Japan travels which are filled with research and interviews. I am very excited

This quilt above is one of my favorites and I love to look at it as I head back to the place where all this vintage cotton fabric came from. I'm also about to take my 2nd tour of Mt. Fuji. I feel so blessed to be living this life!

Stay tuned for lots of travel blog posts on all the latest adventures in textiles and quilts from Japan.

1. I'll be attending the BRAND NEW Quilt Time Festival in Yokohama.

2. I am going to see an invitational quilt exhibit sponsored by Japan Handicraft Instructors Association (JHIA) - this will be a best-of-the-best display and I'm really looking forward to it.

3. Heading back to my favorite temple market in Kyoto and plan to purchase all the vintage textiles that I can afford (and carry)!

Timing for this trip is also perfect for me since I just finished a massive new book project (as you saw in my last post). Over the past year, I've been getting around 10 or so important emails every day in response to my research questions and I'd spend days and days incorporating this new information into the manuscript. Towards the end of this project, the emails were coming fast and furious and all day long I was culling the info and making the final edits.  A writer's work is very solitary and tedious, usually slow going, but it can also be stressful ... especially right before a deadline. So now that the deadline has been met, the emails have trickled to zero. Its so strange. The only people who are communicating with me are the click bait ones. So this is the perfect time to go on vacation!

Zero emails and time on my hands.

Teresa Duryea Wong. White Rain. Antique Japanese cotton. White cotton sashiko thread. Hand stitched. 2016.

May 14, 2018

finished a new quilt top - made with American cotton


Just finished this quilt top. Its an original design made with American Made Brand cotton solids.

I started experimenting and made one block. Then I made a very large Nine Patch.


And I liked that so much, I just kept going. Can't wait to start quilting this one... although I have 5 weeks of travel coming up, so it'll have to wait till later in the summer. Something to look forward to! I do love these fabrics - not just the colors - but the whole line of these solids are wonderful. Plus, they are 100% made in America.


May 8, 2018

a historic day - shipping a new manuscript off to the publisher!


Selfie with Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant Puentes during our last interview for
a new book: "Magic & Memories: 45 Years of International Quilt Festival."
Today is a historic day. I am shipping off the final manuscript to Schiffer Publishing for a new book. This book has been in the works off and on for 4 years!

Schiffer advises against publicizing new books too early, because sending off the manuscript is only the first step in a very long process. It can take up to one year for the book to be completed! So consider this as informational, not promotional.


The new book is a history of the past 45 years of International Quilt Festival and the biography of the two Texas women who created Festival, International Quilt Market, 20 years of Quilt Expo in Europe and so much more: Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O'Bryant Puentes.

Festival has been an incredibly transformative experience for me. I have been attending almost 20 years and have never missed one. I hope I never do! When I had the chance to spend some time with Karey and Nancy, I began to think about all they had accomplished and I was fascinated by their story. I really wanted to capture all that they have done to change the course of quilt history and tell their story. Its a story about women who forged ahead - they were not afraid! Its a story about family - the two are cousins who were raised as sisters. And mostly this is a story about the willingness to do anything for quilts and quilters - and what more can you say than that!

I'm so proud to be at this point. We are not done with the book yet. There is much more to come. But I'm super excited about 2019 - the 45th anniversary of International Quilt Festival and the debut of this new book.

More than 100 quilts from years past and lots of wonderful historical photos --- all on one small USB included in that thin USPS envelope!



Apr 28, 2018

throwback quilt, made 15 years ago, I think

Teresa Duryea Wong. Brick Pattern Quilt. c. 2003. Hand quilted.
Way back when, I made this quilt from a pattern. I have very vivid memories of working on this quilt, except I can't remember what year it was. Funny... or sad! I think the pattern was one by Judy Rothermel and I adapted and changed the borders. Back then it never really occurred to me to design my own quilt. I was super busy as a wife and mom and working a big job, but I loved quilting. So this pattern intrigued me. I still love the quilt very much.

The fabrics are reproductions from the American Civil War era. I do love the soft colors and nostalgic motifs. 

I also hand quilted this one!


I did not label this quilt - so bad me. I'm going to label it now - circa 2003. I dug this quilt out for two reasons. One, I just wrote about it! I am nearly finished with a new manuscript on a book about the 45-year history of the International Quilt Festival and the story of the two women who founded Festival (and a whole lot more). The book will be published by Schiffer Publishing and will be available in 2019. Super excited!

As I was writing the book on the history of Festival, I reflected on my own experience attending over the past 20 years! Festival was a life changer for my quilting. I learned so much from shopping at booths with vendors from all over the world... and also from the hundreds of stunning exhibitions I've seen year after year.

Back when I started going to Festival, in 1999, there weren't any online fabric shops (at least none I shopped at). So if you wanted to collect special fabric, like the reproductions I used in this quilt, you had to buy them at a real store --- or if you are lucky like me, you could find everything your heart desires at Festival! But collecting took patience back then.

The second reason I dug this quilt out is because I decided to use it as a backdrop for my "author photo" for this new book. It seemed a fitting quilt since it all came about because of Festival.

My husband is a professional photographer, lucky me. So after he took the photo of me, I got out of the way and he took these photos of just the quilt. As for the portrait, he is a good photographer, maybe too good --- because his talent and the sharpness of these new cameras shows lots of lines and wrinkles! ugh. Oh well, they are the wrinkles of life and I'm so thankful that along the way I took the time to make a lot of great quilts.



Apr 20, 2018

sewing with American cotton. its luminous!

Original design. Quilt top made with American Made Brand cotton solids. Teresa Duryea Wong. 2018.
Every quilt has a story. Often times the most interesting part of that story is the fabric - whether its from a special collection, or vintage, or unusual, or foreign. We quilters love these stories and we hunt to find them.

I just made my first quilt top with AMB - American Made Brand cotton solids. This fabric definitely has a story! The cotton is grown in American soil, made into a textile at an American plant, dyed at another American plant, shipped to Seattle, and then shipped to quilt stores all over.

The fabric has a lovely hand and I truly enjoyed sewing with it.

For a million years, I used mostly Kona cotton, and also Moda solids. I prefer AMB. Of course I love that its American, but I think I like the way it feels and I am also very impressed with the deep, deep color. This color has a glow to it... not a sheen, (which would come from the top of the fabric), but something about the luminosity of the color is very special.

I think this will be the first of many quilts using these lovely solids. More stories in the waiting!