Oct 31, 2015

a few festival favorites

A few favorite moments from my time at the 2015 Houston International Quilt Festival (and Market too). The photo above is a stunning art quilt by Makiko Aoki and this quilt is featured in my new book.

New work by the talented and uber modern Chiaki Dosho, part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates exhibit. Chiaki Dosho is also featured in my new book.

Above, another new work by Noriko Endo. I'm proud to share that this vibrant art quilt is also featured in my book.

This art quilt is by Keiko Goke --- another talented Japanese quilter featured in my book.

And here are some other quilts that caught my eye!


I met some wonderful people... the talented Pepper Cory... who gave lectures on "the blues and indigo" and Sashiko at Market.

  And Sue Spargo - the queen of stunning and original hand embroidery and embellishment.

Love this unique bag - Echino fabric (on the right below)! The shape feels original and along the sides is this ever so tiny piping. And this seems a fitting spot to insert a pic of two of my favorite bags made by me! I made these a year ago (below left) for my friend and me. They are made from 150-year old European textiles and I used upcycled leather to make the straps. 


Had lunch at Irma's - on the ground floor of this building. The BEST lunch available in downtown for sure. And an interesting side note (mostly just for me), this building is quite old - and in Houston we don't keep old buildings around too long. I especially love that they have kept the original signage for Great Southwest, which was an insurance company at one time. My mother worked in this building in the mid-1950's!

Oct 25, 2015

Needlework & the Post 9/11 World: Why Can't We Get Along?

Planes, trains and automobiles... throw in the doctor's office, soccer practice, the beach or jury duty... and you've pretty much covered what might be the very last hold-outs where our hurried world allows us a moment to sit still. To chill out.

Or to be bored.

Maybe that's what I love about quilting. Always something to do - keeps me moving. And I love taking handwork with me for these down times.

Wanna carry all this on the plane? Should be no problem... provided you're flying on a U.S. carrier.

Regulation scissors? Check. Needle? Okay. Hand embroidery project? Got it.

Try taking these same scissors to Africa. Not okay. They will end up in the trash can! And you will get a scowling look from the man in charge.

But Japan is a different story all together. I recently boarded a Japanese carrier for the first leg of my trip back to the U.S. They did not like my scissors. In fact there was much scurrying around... and I thought "oh no," I'm gonna have to toss another pair of perfectly good scissors.

But not so! True to polite nature you will find everywhere in Japan, instead of throwing my "dangerous" scissors away...

the very nice security team provided me this little box. Popped my scissors inside, and escorted me back to baggage check in where the airline attendant kindly put the box in a plastic bag and added a luggage ticket with my name. Sweet!

Sweet that I did not have to throw the scissors away. Not so sweet for the 12-hour flight with NOTHING to do but watch movies. What a wasted opportunity for hand work.

A week later, back in Texas, I was called to jury duty.

Experience from years past reminded me I could find myself sitting in the jury assembly room for 3 or 4 hours before being called to an actual court room. Who wants to sit there for 3 hours with nothing to do? So I packed my 'go to' handwork bag.

Hold your horses there, Missy!

You cannot take scissors into the jury assembly room, and certainly not the courtroom. WTF?

Let me get this straight. These scissors are not allowed? No.

Can I keep my needle, at least? No!

But all of these items are allowed? Yes.

Seriously, let's think about this for a minute. Do me and my scissors really stand a chance against this guy? He has a gun. And a tattoo.

I mean no disrespect to the peace officers. I value and respect everything they do to protect us.

My beef is with the whole security system in general. A system that's really off kilter when it comes to allowing or preventing us to engage in the very simple act of putting a needle and thread into a piece of cloth.

Very few people bother to do hand needlework anymore. And I think this may be part of the reason. The Post 9/11 world makes everything so difficult. And I feel these random security measures are a big contributor killing what little motivation is left for anyone interested in working with a needle and thread by hand.

I know that there is one possible work-around solution to this problem --- I can pre-cut a bunch of pieces of thread and work without scissors on the airplane. But that's only if you plan ahead and if you know they are going to take your scissors. If you are busy and do not expect your scissors to be taken... well then.

And when you are called for boring jury duty, you certainly do not expect your scissors AND your needle to be taken.

The randomness of these rules are killing me and my handwork.

Why can't we allow small needles, thread, cloth and tiny scissors? Randomness!

I don't recall any headlines involving frightening stories of tiny sewing scissors gone wrong. So why discriminate against these things?

Does this bother anyone else? Anyone have any solutions?

Oct 23, 2015

quilters who blog and seek votes

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Red Cardinal on Black Wool" 2015. Applique & thread paint. Cotton, wool. Machine quilted. 
About this time each year, me and lots of other bloggers sharpen up our digital images and enter our latest and greatest quilts in the Bloggers Quilt Festival - an online show run by Amy's Creative Side.

I've entered "Red Cardinal on Black Wool" in the Art Quilt category.

If you're so inclined, please take a minute and click here to see the Art Quilt Category. The Festival is open now. Voting starts Oct. 29 - so check back and vote! Blogger's Quilt Festival
Teresa Duryea Wong. "Red Cardinal on Black Wool" 2015. Photographed in the August heat in Round Top, Texas.
"Red Cardinal on Black Wool" hanging in the Third Floor Quilts Studio. 2015.
Take a seat. Put your feet up. And spend some time flipping through this digital collection from quilters who blog... and seek votes. 

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2015

If you'd like to read more about this red cardinal on black wool art quilt, here's my original post.

Oct 22, 2015

Peppered Cotton giveaway winner announced!

204 kind and generous comments were left on my blog when I posted the Peppered Cotton fat quarter give away. As promised, the winner is announced today!

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Morris & Me" Photographed in Bryant Park, New York City. 2015
I made this small art quilt for the Jaftex Anniversary blog hop using only these beautiful Peppered Cottons. You can read more about it here.

I appreciated hearing from each and every person and your words were incredibly encouraging and motivating. Love the quilt world!

The winner is: comment #84 janequiltsslowly

The winner was selected via True Random Number Generator.

'janequiltsslowly" I will send you a private reply for shipping info.

Thank you to everyone who participated.

Oct 18, 2015

dragonflies, flowers and a bit of bright orange

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Dragonflies, Flowers and a Spot of Orange" 42 x 48 inches.
Cotton Yukata prints, Oakshott, wool. Machine quilted. 2015.
Photo shoots always work better with a prop.

I finished this 'improv' quilt today and I was looking around for a prop to use in the photo to help give the quilt some perspective when Tom the dog and his bright orange collar laid down in the perfect spot.

Teresa Duryea Wong. "Dragonflies, Flowers and a Spot of Orange" 42 x 48 inches. 
Cotton Yukata prints, Oakshott, wool. Machine quilted. 2015.
The dragonfly and flower prints are Japanese Yukata (summer kimono) fabric. These are hand-dyed, vintage imported prints and they are a lot of fun to work with.

Read more about these interesting cottons on my previous blog post.

The other fabrics are shimmering Oakshott cotton and I think they set these prints off nicely.

Everything is 'improv' - meaning no pattern, no rulers, just cut and sew. The wonky lines and off-kilter edges are what give this small quilt its own personality.

The flower print has a taupe pallette, yet there is one beautiful orange leaf that just pops out, so that inspired me to add just a touch of bright orange wool to the overall design.

Orange is such a compelling color.

Working in the improv style takes a certain amount of fortitude!

Like, when you get to the edge and the blocks don't line up - don't cut them! Just go with it... these are some of my favorite parts.

I had one of those spelling crisis moments (you know, when your mind tricks you... is it dragonflys or dragonflies? Dragonflies is correct, btw).

I bought this dragonfly from a sidewalk artist in Kyoto. It balances on your finger! So cool.
I could not resist... made of wood, hand painted.
Anyway, I was really drawn to these blue on blue dragonflies because I learned while researching my book on the history of Japanese quilts that in Japanese culture, the dragonfly is associated with strength and victory, especially military strength. There is a stunning dragonfly quilt by Yoshiko Katagiri in my book. You can see a photo of it here, on my website.

So when I looked this word up today, I learned that (according to dictionary.com) in the Northern and Western US, another name for dragonfly is darning needle, devil's darning needle or sewing needle. Hmmm... I have never heard this. Have you? Fascinating...

Thanks to Tom the Dog. You and your orange collar make the perfect model!
Linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays
and Lizzie Lenard's Free Motion Mavericks
Check out the other blog posts there!

Oct 14, 2015

you sign mine... I'll sign yours

Typical for an author to go 'round signing books (although, I have to say, this still feels quite surreal). I took this concept a step further and have begun asking everyone mentioned in "Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters" to sign my book. A bit like collecting autographs for a high school yearbook... only way cooler!
Autograph Nine Patch.
In order to start gathering the signatures, while I was in Japan a few weeks ago, I invited the artists featured in my new book to an afternoon reception at the lovely Hilton Hotel in Shinjuku.
From left: Akemi Narita, Yasuko Saito, Yoko Sekita (and her husband), Yoshiko Jinzenji, me, Keiko Goke, Yoshiko Kurihara, Miki Murakami, Makiko Aoki, and on the right, Miki's sister.
It was great fun. An amazing collection of artists... with food resembling works of art.

These signatures AND the time we spent together were priceless.

Cover artist Yoko Sekita and her husband!
Truly a special moment ... at the end of a very long journey of researching and writing this book.

Keiko Goke signs her page.
Akemi Narita (center), an extremely talented translator, and Keiko Goke. 

Makiko Aoki and her page (featured on the right page of the book).
Miki Murakami.
Yasuko Saito, in her beautiful traditional Kimono, reacts to seeing her art in the book for the first time.

Yoshiko Kurihara.
Yoko Saito signs my book at her retail store, Quilt Party, a day earlier.
I brought gifts from Texas, of course. More specifically, pins from the Texas Quilt Museum with a small red cowboy boot charm attached. Each pin is adorned with Shibori ribbons.

Here's Yoshiko Jinzenji and me at her home in Kyoto. Stay tuned for a blog post in the not-too-distant future with lots more on her home, her art and her astounding collection of quilts and textiles.

Yoshiko Jinzenji at her home in Kyoto.