TBZ goes to Japan: The Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival

TBZ goes to Japan: The Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival

We have officially experienced the Tokyo quilt show and what a pleasure it was! Read on for my top five favorite quilts, a bit of what it is like to be here, and picture candy!

Sadly I couldn’t read the many of the artist’s names or titles of their quits. Since my souvenir book is also in Japanese, I started calling them various names based on what I saw in them. If you come by and know the actual title or artist’s name, please let me know so I can use that instead!

TBZ’s Top 5 from the 2016 Tokyo Great International Quilt Festival

1. “The Brown Quilt”

This one is my absolute favorite

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I love everything about this quilt. The limited color palette full of neutrals, the math tricks, the depth, the beautifully done curved piecing, interesting and precise hand quilting, and and the texture. Just take a minute to really look at it. Follow some of the lines and shapes and watch how they transform as them move around their curves. Perfect, in every way.

#2 Through the looking glass

I couldn’t image coming up with all the right techniques to create this:

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Interesting at first glance, but when you start looking at how she created the trees, reflections, and texture tons of details start to emerge

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The bright trees a the top, the muted trees in the reflection, all of the detailed piecing, plus the use of organza and metallic thread to create both realism and depth are spectacular. There are so many details in the house and at the well that I could look at for a long long time and not see it all.

#3 No Tiger, Hidden Dragon

This one took a second.

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I love the texture and whatever textiles she used to create this. It has a real physical weight to it even though the image is very light. The finish with the staggered edge is lovely and the limited palette is perfect. I don’t think this one photographs and interesting as it is in person, but here’s an attempt to show you why it is so awesome.

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 #4 The Halloween Quilt

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Of course I’m a little drawn to theme of this one, but what really impresses me is the craftsmanship. These pieces are TINY. Like, omg how did a human work that small tiny. I mean really – could you even tell those are about 1/8 “- 1/4″ yo-yos holding the sections together? There is so much to look it in such a small quilt and I can’t image the patience required. Every detail is there and the treatment on the outside like the bones sticking out is just too precious for words.

#5 The White One

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Because Perfection (and metallic thread).

Attending the Show

We started on opening day, turns out there is a bit of a line

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(no really, we were in the front 1/4). It took a bit to get in. At first the crowd was fairly easy to manage, but as it approached 11 am, it turned into a Dragon*Con++ level number of people.

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While being tall really has its advantages for seeing over and around people…

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… it also means you’re trying to push your way through women with an insanely lower center of gravity than you. Everyone has been so polite and thoughtful here, but try to get between a woman and her fabric shopping and you might get knocked over. After two days in and out of the dome, I can say without a doubt, I’d try to be there when it opened, leave with the crowd swells and come back around 3:00. It seem by 4:00 it really starts to thin with two hours left.

Bet you can find me in this crowd looking at everything right over people’s heads….


We did do some shopping and I picked up a few kits with interesting patterns or textiles. The instructions are, of course, in Japanese, but I think I can manage with the instruction pictures, general sewing knowledge, and pictures of what it is supposed to look like when it is finished. Only time will tell.

There are so many beautiful bags and the textiles and hardware to make them. I wish I could just buy some of it all and bring it all back, but making those choices would be way too hard!

Other Quilts to See

Here’s a collection of some of my other favorites. If you’re local, ask me I have more and will gladly tell you all about them!

Goodbye from the Tokyo Dome! We’re off for some more tourist-y thing tomorrow including a trip to Yoko Saito’s shop. If you want to see other posts about this trip, check out the index of posts.