Home » JQSG- Guest Post with Teresa Duryea Wong

JQSG- Guest Post with Teresa Duryea Wong

Welcome to month 8 of the Japanese Quilting Study Group! You can see all posts in this series here.  Today I’m delighted to welcome Teresa Duryea Wong, who blogs at Third Floor Quilts.  She has some wonderful experiences with Japanese quilting to share, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

One day, while surfing the blogo-sphere, I came across Emily’s lovely blog. Her Japanese Study Group caught my attention as I am intently interested in Japanese quilting. We’ve connected and shared many emails, and here I am – offering my first guest blog post.

Teresa Duryea Wong at the Tokyo Dome quilt show

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily suggested I write about 3 things: First, my new book on Japanese quilts (being published by Schiffer Publishing – due out early next year); Second, the amazing quilt artists I met and interviewed for my book, including Yoko Saito; And third, my own journey making Japanese-inspired quilts.

So first… the BOOK! My book traces the 40+ year history of quilting in Japan. Most people may not realize that quilting was an idea that was imported from America. It’s a fascinating story of how eager and curious women took the idea of the traditional American quilt and eventually made it their own art form.

I spent more than a year full-time researching this book and I spent nearly a month in Japan in early 2014. I went to the homes and studios of about a dozen quilt artists including Keiko Goke, Noriko Endo and Yoko Saito. It was a truly special experience, and I have exclusive interviews and photos of all of them in my book.

And yes, I did meet Yoko Saito in person when I was in Japan. Lucky me! I interviewed her through a translator and she was just wonderful. Very gracious! We met in her studio and office, which is above her store, Quilt Party, on the outskirts of Tokyo. Her interesting background and story will be in my book… along with photos of her quilts.

Here's a sneak peek inside the Quilt Party store, the business Yoko Saito has built over the past 30 years. My visit was all too short it seems!
Here’s a sneak peek inside the Quilt Party store, the business Yoko Saito has built over the past 30 years. My visit was all too short it seems!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with the story of Japan’s quilting history, 8 extremely talented contemporary quilt artists are featured prominently in book (Yoko is one of them), along with over 200 stunning photos of their quilts. Each quilter has a special story of how she found quilting and what inspires her.

And now for a personal quilt note. People sometimes ask me how I got interested in Japanese quilts… and the short answer is, I started out as a “groupie” of many of the talented fabric designers. I’ve made several quilts inspired by their patterns or fabrics. I adapted a pattern from Yoko Saito into the small quilt pictured here. It is 100% hand appliqué and hand quilted. Yep, that one took more than a year to complete!

YokoSaitoStillLife-WEB-222008

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made an original art quilt using Keiko Goke fabrics.

thirdfloor-stilllife-web1004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And…. I took a class from the very talented Noriko Endo years ago and made one quilt in her confetti naturescape style as well. No photos of that one – it’s stuck on a shelf somewhere not to be seen by the public, haha.

I do make other art quilts too, and I blog about them on thirdfloorquilts.com

If you want to buy these wonderful Japanese fabrics, its always a bit of a challenge to find them. For anyone interested, I highly recommend attending the Houston International Quilt Festival… lots of vendors there sell great Japanese fabrics. In years past, Yoko’s Quilt Party store has hosted a booth (but not every year). There are also several online sources that have great options:

http://www.contemporarycloth.com/index.htm

http://www.fabricworm.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MissMatatabi

While I was in Japan, I attended the Tokyo Dome show, officially known as the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, held in January every year. If you go, you’ll love it, but be prepared – it’s packed! 230,000 people attend! (Whereas 70,000 attend the Houston show.) And it is a fairly small space, compared to Houston. Imagine standing on a small-ish baseball field versus a cavernous American-style convention center. Anyway, there are obviously fantastic quilts on view and a fair number of vendors selling fabric and all things quilt related.

Yoko Saito's Quilt Party booth at the Tokyo Dome show is crazy packed! Lots of fans collecting everything in sight, and lining up for autographs.
Yoko Saito’s Quilt Party booth at the Tokyo Dome show is crazy packed! Lots of fans collecting everything in sight, and lining up for autographs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside, everyone lines up outside the Tokyo Dome waiting patiently for the doors to open.
Outside, everyone lines up outside the Tokyo Dome waiting patiently for the doors to open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a fantastic experience writing this book and living in Japan for a few short weeks. I can’t wait to go back in 2015. Maybe twice? And I can’t wait to see the book in print.

Writing this book has been a labor of love… and it feels surreal to have an actual publisher and a book coming out some time soon! I am the most impatient person ever, but they tell me it will be available sometime in early spring 2015. Seems like a long ways away… But I suppose time will fly.

Big thanks to Emily for inviting me to be a guest blogger. If you have any questions, or comments, please email me at Teresa (at) third floor quilts {dot} com.

And thank you for the beautiful post!  I can’t wait to see your book!

Happy Stitching!

emily

5 comments

  1. Celtic Cate says:

    Oh boy! Can’t wait to see Teresa’s book (and congrats on its publication). Sounds like all our favorites are in the book, and how wonderful that we’ll be able to armchair travel with Teresa to Japan (a past class with Noriko Endo and meeting Yoko Saito? I’m swooning…ha!). I had no idea that quilting was imported from America to Japan, so I’ve already learned something new. I am thoroughly enjoying the Taupe Study journey and participating in the Japanese incorporation of quilting–such an exciting time to join in the melding of old and new traditions. Thanks, Emily, for hosting Teresa’s story and sharing it with us.

  2. Hillary says:

    All those beautiful taupes at Yoko Saito’s store!!! And what a fascinating book!! Emily, we’ll need an update when it’s available!! Thank you Teresa!!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Amazing stuff! I knew quilting was imported into Japan but I did not know how recently. Wow! I love learning new things. And, Teresa, your work is beautiful. I hope to get to see your book 🙂

  4. Kathy Towers says:

    Road trip!!!!! How fun would THAT be?!!?? I don’t know how you would ever choose the fabric, though…. Getting it all to fit in suitcases for the trip back would be the problem… Wonderful blog- can’t wait for the book!!

  5. Michelle Flamer says:

    I have met Yoko Saito at her booth in Houston-she is absolutely gracious and willing to teach. I purchased, among many things, a porcelain thimble which she showed me how to use for hand quilting-of course I haven’t mastered the technique but I remember what she told me. I wish she would do You Tubes or some instructional videos. I have trouble following the instructions whether in Japanese, French or English (I collect all of her books). I have also met Reiko Kato (she had a retrospective last year in Houston) and taken a class with the lovely Noriko Endo-yes my completed tree confettiscape has never seen the light of day also….smiles. I have used and collected Dawibo for many years and buy my fabric from Pinwheels-Maria Tamoako, the owner, is the largest US importer of Dawaibo. She is also friends with Yokosan and features a great quilt pattern of a modified bear claw that Yoko granted permission to use. Thanks for this blog-and I am excited to purchase Teresa’s book!

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