Oct 23, 2018

days on the cotton farm

The days are crazy right now. I'm working night and day on a new book, so I haven't done much quilting or blogging. My new book has taken me all over the U.S. in the last 4 weeks - visited textile and printing mills in the Carolinas; toured a bunch of cotton farms in West Texas and several other cotton related stops; and I went to Seattle to visit the Warm Company which makes cotton batting (more on that later)! All this is for my new book - "American Cotton: Farm to Quilt" - due out in Feb. of 2019.

These farmers are studying an organic cotton field in West Texas... where the soil is dry and dusty.,, but this is soil cotton loves.


Quilters are passionate consumers of 100% cotton! So while in town, I visited the quilt shop, of course. I had great fun visiting a quilting group that meets at the Sewing Studio in Lubbock. Everyone was hard at work... and several of these ladies live on or near cotton farms in the region.

Met a peacock at an restaurant one evening!

Love these storm clouds over farmland. The force of nature.

Oct 10, 2018

a day in a quilt life in nebraska

Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 was a great day in my quilt life. I was invited to give a lecture at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, AND I got to hang out with one of my artist heores, Yoshiko Jinzenji.

She made these gorgeous, subtle quilts and the matching kimono. She brought these 3 items from her Kyoto home and graciously donated the 2 quilts to Lincoln! Her construction process for these was quite amazing... she worked with organic cotton thread (grown in New Mexico!) and wove it herself into cloth. She then dyed these pieces with natural bamboo and mahogany dyes, pieced it and quilted it herself. They are stunning examples of her "engineered" process, and show her desire for minimalist shades and perfection in simplicity. 

These next two Yoshiko Jinzenji quilts have been part of the IQSCM collection for many years. I loved that they were hung in the lobby for this special event.

Nice crowd for the First Friday talk.

Me and Yoshiko Jinzenji, wearing a top I made using commercial fabric ( linen) designed by Yoshiko and manufactured in Japan. I sewed this using a Japanese pattern.

My lecture covered an introduction of Japanese quilt history, and the story of Yoshiko Jinzenji's quilting life. An unforgettable day.

Sep 16, 2018

upcoming lecture at the International Quilt Study Center - Oct. 5, 2018

I'm sharing a post from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln. I will be giving a lecture there on Oct. 5, 2018. I'm so honored to be participating in the Museum's focus on Japanese textiles. If you're in the area, please come. Museum admission is free that night.

First Friday: Japanese Textiles

Friday, October 5, 2018
Join the International Quilt Study Center & Museum for free admission to the galleries from 4-7 p.m. as part of Lincoln's First Friday Artwalk. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., we will offer lectures on Japanese textiles by Teresa Duryea Wong and Kenichi Kondo.
Teresa Duryea Wong is the author of four books on quilt history, Japanese quilts and American cotton. "American Cotton: Farm to Quilt" will be published in 2019. She travles to Japan often for research and has published two books on Japanese textiles. She travels the U.S. to lecture and has been a guest speaker nationwide. She will present on Japanese maker Yoshiko Jinzenji, a subject of her book "Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters." Her book tells the history of 40 years of quilt making in Japan and how the idea of the quilt was originally imported from America. The book also introduces dozens of talented quilt artists—former painters, graphic artists, seamstresses and homemakers who have made professional careers in quilting—along with antique American quilts and early Japanese quilts.
More than 50 years ago, Kenichi Kondo joined Kurashiki Textile Mill (Kura-bo) where he grew to be a textile engineer with a vision. An encounter with Dacca muslin cotton textile in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London inspired him to dream of someday re-creating the gossamer cotton with automated industrial machines instead of highly skilled Indian artisans who no longer exist. For 22 years he built mills and trained locals in countries where cotton grows, including Brazil, Thailand, and Indonesia. In 1994, he was asked to head the Tokyo Office and Marketing at Taisho Textile Mill (Taisho-bo), thus becoming a creator of organic cotton textiles in Japan where “manufacturing” was losing ground. His dream of developing organic cotton fiber in Japan became a reality since he first learned in 1989 about Sally Fox , the entomologist who developed a more responsible alternative  to the chemical-laden cotton-growing industry by inventing Foxfibre Colored Cotton. He believes that fibers grown organically, not only cotton but also other fibers such as cashmere and sheep’s wool, managed in tune with the local ecology, would benefit, not only consumers but also the land, the environment, and the people working in production. Such small scale well engineered industries can create what the hands of skilled artisans once produced — breathable, gentle, practical, and beautiful fiber and textile. 

Sep 12, 2018

the lanterns of Kanazawa: a photo essay

This is a travel post that may interest only me. But here it goes...

Japan 2018: In a country with a beautiful park on just about every corner, I visited one of the most serene and gorgeous parks I've ever seen. The Kenrokuen Garden, in Kanazawa, on the east coast. This two-legged stone lantern shown above, is a toro, (more specifically a Yukimi-doro) or snow lantern as they are also called, and this particular one is the symbol of Kanazawa. It drew me in and I fell in love with these lanterns, and this park. One can just picture the snow piled up on these umbrella shaped tops and a warm light burning underneath. Here's my photo essay of one day I wish I could relive.


This last image is inside the stunning tea house which has a priceless view of this beautiful garden.

Mon and son. Kanazawa, 2018.

Aug 8, 2018

my surprise discovery of a new Japanese quilter

Life is full of surprises, and the best surprise of all is when we get to discover a new quilter whose work we can love and dream about.

On my last visit to Japan, I met one of those quilters. Her name is Miwako Watanabe and I met her for the first time at the Quilt Time Festival in Yokohama (May 2018).

It was such a thrill to see all her quilts on display at her booth. The closer I got to these quilts, the more I loved them. I saw genius in her whimsy and colors --- as if drawings from her mind had come to life in these perfectly executed quilts. I will let these photos tell the rest of the story.

Aug 5, 2018

American made cotton - squares, strips and rectangles

Teresa Duryea Wong. 2018.

This one is finally finished and I'm thrilled! This is an original design, made with American Made Brand - AMB cotton. I love this line of solids and I love the fact that the cotton for this fabric is grown in America and the fabric is manufactured here as well.

This photo shows how big this quilt actually is... I started with just a 4 patch of these blocks... and I liked it so I kept going.

The entire thing is covered in quilting, except for the improv strips of sashing.

I think my photos are a little dark... it was hard to capture this color just right.

I haven't quilted anything this large in a long time. I spent about 40 hours or so at the machine. And I was able to match the fabric colors perfectly with my huge collection of Aurifil cotton thread.

Jul 18, 2018

sewing... when I should be working

I really do have a million things I should be doing... I need to catch up on work for my current research project (new book), I have a deadline for an article that is looming, I need to go to the hair salon (yes, this is on the list!)... and on and on. But all I want to do is sew.

When I was in Japan in May I bought 3 meters of this lovely blue fabric with metallic white does. The designer is "nani iro" - under the Kokka brand. Its is incredibly soft, organic cotton gauze. I bought the book too, the Nani Iro Atelier. Everything is in Japanese, but I can follow the pictures. I love the Japanese fashion style and this one is nice because it had sizes, most styles just have one giant size.

If you'd like to make something with this fabric, you can find it here - at Miss Matatabi online shop. This shop has an amazing collection of Japanese fabric. They have the book too! Although unless you read Japanese, you may find this hard to use.

I just can't stop sewing. Can you?