February 4, 2014

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival: The Language of Flowers

The Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival was held inside Tokyo Dome from January 23-29. "International" was quite a loose term -- 90% of what was featured was produced in Japan, and it seemed like 90% of the visitors were Japanese women over the age of 60.

 The quilts, though, were astounding. If you're underwhelmed by the photos here, don't worry: it only gets better.

Although the festival was blocked off into several sections, these traditional quilts were displayed throughout the space, and contrasted nicely with all the other unconventional quilts. These quilt blocks were collected from the viewers of the a NHK (the national broadcaster) program on handicrafts. There were 82 in all.

The names of the square-makers were written to the right of the quilts. You could tell many were made by women of an older generation. Their names were written with hiragana or katakana, and signal that they were not expected to be particularly literate.

One of the most elaborate of these crowd-sourced quilts. It's interesting to see how everyone finds a way to assert their preferences, even for quilts such as in the third photo, when only one pattern is used.

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