Feb 1, 2016

faces from the Tokyo festival of 2016

Remember when a roll of film had either 24 or 36 exposures? Back then, we chose carefully.

I often say now that we've passed the Age of Information and we live in the Age of the Image. Images, images... every millisecond of every day. And I'm right there along with you. My phone is filled with thousands of images. My computer even more.

Where do all these images go? Will they all be lost to the ether of Facebook? The latest image just pushed down in the file system as we load in the latest images?

One of the reasons I write this blog is because it is a record. A diary. A visual and verbal memory. And each year I print my blog entries into a lovely, paperback book. I feel fairly certain most books will survive into future generations. Digital files will not.

No one will take the time to dig out old photos on systems that won't be compatible with the future. Trust me. When was the last time you watched a carousel of 35 mm slides? Or looked through your boxes and boxes of negatives? Or played your cassette tapes? Or watched an 8 mm family film?  

Books will survive. And quilts will survive. These things I am certain.

Having just completed my third trip to Japan in three years, I added another thousand-plus images to my digital system. I don't want to let all these images just fade into files.

Instead, I want to document and share my photos of the people I met and the old friends I reconnected with. This is my record. Looking at this image collection holistically, I think I've also captured a great many of the faces who are the heart and soul of the world's largest quilt gathering. 

In no particular order, here's my journey along with the who's who of the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival of 2016.  
Day One. Lined up outside the Tokyo Dome for the Opening Ceremony.
Two beautiful artists! Left, Yoshiko Katagiri and Yasuko Saito. Two of their students won the top 4 awards! Saito san's student won the Grand Prix! Both of them are featured in my book.

My friend the very talented Keiko Goke giving a demo of her innovative quilting skills. She is also featured in my book.
Merikay Waldvogel (left) has been an invited judge of the Tokyo Dome festival for the past three years. On the right is Akemi Narita.
Yoshiko Jinzenji (left) and her student of 30 years Akiko Shisusawa standing in front of one of my favorite quilts from the Festival, made by Akiko in the style of her teacher.
Yoshiko Kurihara and her husband (left) with me and Yoshiko Katagiri. Both of these ladies are accomplished artists and both had beautiful quilts on view at the show. Both are featured in my book.
Harue Konishi (left) and me with Chiaki Dosho. We met to sign each other books. Both of these artists are very contemporary and are making quilts that stretch the limits of quiltmaking with stunning modern and minimalist visual creations.
Shizuko Kuroha has been at the forefront of Japan's quilt world for more than 30 years. Her forte is antique indigo and other old Japanese cotton textiles - all hand quilted. During this trip, I interviewed her again for my next book and we shared a lovely dinner with two of her very talented students.
Quilter and designer Yoko Ueda at her booth (sorry this is not my best photo).
Miki Murakami and I in front of her latest - another stunning example of her colorful and intricate original designs. She is one of the up and coming quilters featured in my book.
Can't resist the selfie showing the massive crowds. In spite of the fact that I am the one holding the camera, it is so easy to spot me.

Had coffee one morning before festival with these two lovely ladies, both of whom happen to live in Seattle. Priscilla Knoble (left) owner of Stitch Publications and a woman of tremendous energy and talent, a Japan native and my friend! And Patricia Belyea (right) owner of Okan Arts an online and retail shop specializing in vintage Japanese Yukata cotton. I've partnered with Patricia to sell her beautiful fabric during my quilt guild lectures, but this is the first time we've met in person! Small world that we'd finally all three meet up in Tokyo.
Where would I be without this woman? Hard to say. The kind and generous Akemi Narita!
So there it is. Just a few of my thousand images documented.

After all the amazing food, the stunning quilts, the scenery, the snow... It is these people and all the others I visited with whom I want to remember most!


  1. Great memories! Thank you for sharing Teresa!

  2. Green with jealousy! I want to go someday. Thank you for the great write up.

  3. What lovely memories. How smart of you to print a book annually. Like you, I started blogging to create a record of my thoughts and images of my work. They won't last forever in this form.

  4. I well remember the days of 24 and 36 film, the expense and wait to see if you had any decent photos at all! The explosion in image accessibility/production is partly why I blog - it helps me curate and appreciate the photos I take. Which company do you use to print your blog into books?
    What an amazing time this would have been and you would appreciate it far more than most. Definitely a highlight of 2016 for you I would think.