Month 1-Exploring Japanese Taupe Color Theory
Disclaimer: Stitch Publications kindly provided me with a copy of Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory. All opinions expressed in these posts are my own.
One of my favorite memories of Quilt Market was the opportunity to view examples of Yoko Saito’s amazing work in the Stitch Publications booth. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know I’m mesmerized by the complexity and ingenuity of Japanese quilting. Yoko Saito’s work epitomizes everything I admire about Japanese quilting, and goes a step further by incorporating patchwork into a variety of bags and usable items.
Japanese Taupe Color Theory provides exquisite insight into Yoko Saito’s creative world. The projects and simple photography invite you to admire each piece. She shows intricate photographs of how two fabrics, cut carefully in different ways, create blocks that look entirely unlike one another. Every project has a listing of how many fabrics are used, and it’s a fun challenge to see if you can correctly identify each of them in the finished project photograph.
This book is drastically unlike most American quilting books. She shows you how to use fabrics and explore possibilities, and assumes you know basic quilting skills. In a future post, I’ll explore the projects further, and provide a more in-depth review of the project construction aspect of the book.
Just as it is hard to absorb all of the beautiful information within this book in one sitting, it is hard to review it all in one blog post. So today marks the beginning of a new blog series I’m calling the “Japanese Quilting Study Group.” The idea for this series originated with several e-mails I exchanged with Priscilla Knoble, owner of Stitch Publications and editor of the English translation of this book. We were discussing differences between American and Japanese quilting, and she noted that Japanese quilters tend to study thoroughly under one master teacher, often spending years progressing to more advanced skills. So I decided to spend a year or so with this book, sharing with you my experiences as I learn.
Over the next couple of months, I’ll cover topics like finding fabrics suitable for taupe projects within your own stash, and good places to buy authentic Japanese fabric online. Then we’ll work through Ms. Saito’s explanations of choosing a palette for a given project, and actually constructing the project. Later in the year, I’ll share with you thoughts on some of Ms. Saito’s other amazing books available in English. I plan to add one of these posts to the blog each month in 2014, and will have a complete list of all topics in the series posted on the “Japanese Quilting Study Group” tab above.
In the book’s introduction, Ms. Saito sums up the book elegantly:
Taupe is not just grey, or “tea-colored.” The world of taupe that I created encompasses not only a variety of colors, but the subtle manipulation of them. . . .Sometimes, the hidden possibility can only be pulled out of each piece of fabric by seeing it next to others.”
Won’t you journey along with me through this world of intriguing quilty possibility? Grab a blog button from the sidebar, and let’s explore Japanese Quilting!