That Time I Went to Japan

I've been having  so much fun with my quilt friends lately! On Friday night, my friend Kristie and I met at the  IQSCM to hear two lectures about Japanese quilting.

Theresa Duryea Wong gave a talk about the start of the quilting movement in Japan in the 1970's and how it has grown hugely popular. Fascinating stuff! Did you know that a lot of Japanese quilters were inspired by the tv show "Little House on the Prairie?" I think that's funny and awesome at the same time! She has written a book called Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters: The Story of an American Import and she blogs at Third Floor Quilts

The second talk was from Japanese quilt artist, Shizuko Kuroha. Her collection of quilts, "Blue Echoes," is at the quilt museum until May 25th. You can see them HERE but I highly recommend seeing them in person!

After seeing all her amazing quilts, I'm going to be obsessed with indigo and sashiko for awhile! 

The next morning our modern quilt guild had a sew day at the IQSCM and Shizuko Kuroha gave a technique demonstration. I enjoyed seeing her and her friends in action! It was pretty special having her here in Lincoln. She is a master of her craft and her enthusiasm and love for quilting shines through. There's a bit more about the demo HERE. 

So, after all the fun over the weekend, I started reminiscing about the time I went to Japan. It was exactly 20 years ago! I hope you don't mind my trip down memory lane..

Hastings College has a sister city relationship with Ozu, Japan. Ozu is a rural community similar in size to Hastings. It's located on Kyushu, the Southernmost of the four islands of Japan. When I was in the HC choir back in 1996, we traveled to Ozu that March. 

One of the first things I got to do when we arrived there was to twirl this flaming something or other around the dark! I was terrified that I would catch myself/someone else on fire! This was at a fire festival, if I remember correctly. 

I planted a tree in the Ozu/Hastings friendship forest. It's been 20 years, I wonder if my tree survived? How I would love to see what it looks like now!

We visited Kumamoto Castle

and Suizenji Park. It was early spring and not very green. The cherry blossoms had just started blooming. I hardly took any film with me. What was I thinking? These places were gorgeous and I wish I had taken a thousand pictures!

I tried on a kimono. Look at my too long arms sticking out ha! Isn't it pretty?

Our wonderful host family and friends. The girls would speak English with us but the mom would not! She knew how to get her point across without saying much though. 

This quilted potholder is my favorite gift from my host family! I'm pretty sure I had made my first quilt by this time, so I really appreciated the work that went into making the tiny dresden plate! Even back then I liked hand made things. I hadn't started a fabric stash yet, however. I think if I had known about Japanese fabrics then, I would have bought some :)

This table runner came from my host family, too. I think I'll keep it out for a bit. Yep, I'm going to be obsessed with indigo for awhile :) 


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