2018 tokyo quilt festival—special exhibits

2018 tokyo quilt festival—special exhibits

By Patricia Belyea

TOKYO JP  Every year Tokyo Quilt Festival wows with its special exhibits. This year is no exception!

in praise of molas—fumiko nakayama

Fumiko Nakayama’s lifetime commitment to molas—the art form of the Guna people in Panama—takes reverse applique´ to celestial heights. This featured artist exhibit includes the complete works of Sensei Nakayama and smaller projects by her students.

An Annular Eclipse of the Sun
Fumiko Nakayama
People around the World
Jungle Creatures
Flower of the Microcosym
Jungle Flowers

little women—louisa may alcott’s Orchard House

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s childhood home is recreated by dozens of Japanese quilters. The facade of Orchard House is surrounded by a charming outdoor display. Inside are a holiday scene, and rooms depicting the personalities of the four sisters. Reiko Washizawa interprets the oldest sister, Meg. Kathy Nakajimo presents the boyish Jo. Suzuko Koseki portrays the quiet Beth. Yoko Saito depicts Amy—the youngest sister and a talented artist.

Also exhibited were actual quilts from the Orchard House and needlework projects stitched by Louisa May and her family members.

I was touring Orchard House while Yoko Saito was speaking about Amy, the sister of Louisa May, and the quilts her students made for the exhibit. True to form, Saito quilts are rendered in a low-volume palette of taupes and neutrals.

Yoko Saito
Amy’s Dream, quilt by Yoko Saito
Quilts by students of Yoko Saito

the world of eric carle

It's fun to see well-loved illustrations re-created by quilt artists. And look—a shop for buying hungry caterpillars!

special artist exhibits

Dotted throughout the Festival are booths showing the work of senseis (teachers) and their students. Usually the senseis are present and you can talk with them. Okay, maybe not talk, but smile at them if you don't know any Japanese!

Miki Yakita—Hansel und Gretel theme
Akane Sakamoto—Dreams of Madagascar theme
Keiko Goke

There’s more! More artists. More quilt exhibits. The bag competition. Demonstrations. Row upon row of irresistible vendors.

The best way to see all of the Festival is to just come! Tokyo is a safe and friendly place to visit and it’s easy to navigate. 

To see the QUILT EXHIBITS from the 2018 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here

To examine UP-CLOSE PHOTOS of the quilts at 2018 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here


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6 comments


  • May Lee
    I love all the quilts. They are very beautiful and inspirational. The Mola quilts caught my eye. I have three of them and made two into pillows, not enough wall space for wall hangings. Thank you for sharing.

    May


  • Donna Capis
    So many amazing and beautiful quilts. I am always impressed by the intricate designs and fine stitching shown in these quilts. Thank you for the photos and closeups.

  • Patricia Belyea
    David—I agree, Fumiko’s work with the mola design is a great example of that. PB

  • David Owen Hastings
    Love the cross-cultural intersections… how wonderful to see inspiration continue from one artist’s work to something completely new.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Susan—Think of how much the Japanese women who participated in the display learned about Louisa May Alcott while working on their projects. I’m sure you have lots of fellow fans in Japan now. PB

  • Susan Ritchie Voegtly
    I am a huge fan of ‘Little Women’ and can’t thank you enough for sharing these photos!!

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