Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival 2017 part 3

Some photos were taken in a hurry as I rushed from the booth to lunch, or back again. Closeups are all I have of these beautiful quilts. The geometry is complex and amazing. When people who don’t quilt think that quilters are old grannies who sit around making simple blankets, I want to show them…

Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival 2017 Part 2

I’m writing this while sitting in a Tokyo hotel, but I have so much more to tell you about this trip. Since leaving Tokyo Dome I took a train up to Takayama, another train down to Osaka, flew to Hirosaki in Aomori prefecture, then back to Tokyo again. Three weeks on the road and I’m almost ready…

Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival 2017

The Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival is big. So big they hold it in a baseball stadium. So big it goes on for DAYS AND DAYS, even longer than the Houston Quilt Festival, which seems like forever when I’m working that show. This time I only had to work two days, and I got to sit…

Travel Notebook Excerpts – Tokyo, Japan – June 2016

I sat in various coffee and tea shops and trains along the way, testing out a portable keyboard I bought in Shinjuku and observing the pace of life as it swirled around me. Here are a few excerpts from my last week in Japan. I hope you enjoy them.  June 11 – Shinjuku – Nihonbashi – Meguro Vintage…

Quilt Show at Meguro Gajoen – Tokyo – June, 2016

I love happy accidents. As June sweltered on, I had a few spare days in Tokyo to do as I pleased and wander about. Still working out the subway system, I took a few wrong turns and unexpected detours, but any excuse to stretch my legs or see a different part of Tokyo seemed fair….

Shinjuku 新宿

I did not intend to end up here. Shinjuku is like Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip rolled into one, but crammed into one of the world’s largest cities and built without realistic building codes or much space. It is a little crazy. More than a little. It feels like craziness compressed. The decision to…

Hiroshima 広島 – Home of Tulip Needles

Riding the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Hiroshima I had plenty of time to relax notice the smaller details which usually go by the wayside. For example, the formality with which every member of the train crew interacts with passengers. As a crew member exits a car, he or she will pause and bow to the…

Sashi.co – Interview with Keiko Futatsuya

I first stumbled onto Keiko Futatsuya’s work two years ago while searching for botanically-dyed sashiko thread. She was working with Hida Sashiko at the time, but has since moved on to produce her own work as an independent artist and designer. The quality of her work is amazing, and has developed over time to reflect…

Indigo Unraveling – Kyoto Blue 京都の藍

What is it about indigo textiles that bring up so many sensations? The depth of blue, new or faded; the stiffness of the fibers from repeated dips in the dye vat; the fuzzy nap of fabric from years of use; all of these add to indigo’s allure. It’s alchemical, magical, practical, and deeply, vividly, a part of…

Flower of the Forest – Takayama 高山市

Taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya is a thoroughly modern ride. The high-speed train glides along while the view of lush farmland interspersed with citiscapes rush past. And of course, there’s Mt. Fuji. Transferring at Nagoya to the Hida Express, the journey is somewhat different. The train chugs along, ever upward into the mountains,…

A break in the weather – Kyoto 京都市

Leaving Nagoya and hauling 80 lbs of luggage onto the train, I worried about the rain that had been forecast for Kyoto, but I got lucky. The weather stayed dry. Sort of. Kyoto is hot. And humid. Steamy, muggy, drippy, swelteringly, oppressively hot and humid. My first day here I wandered around the historic Higashiyama district,…