Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival - part 1

 Today we went to the quilt show at the Tokyo Dome. I have so many photos, I'll have to do them as several posts over the next week.  We arrived at Kasuga station on the Oedo line because we were coming from Asakusa, but Korakuen station is also nearby. The dome was well signposted all the way from the station platform.  If you plan to use this route to the show yourself sometime, the following photos might help.

You can see the dome from the exit, but to get up to the entrance level, we crossed the road and went through the entrance to Korakuen station.

We arrived at 10.30 for the show's opening at 11 (first day only - other days are 9.30) and there was already a long queue for ticket holders (we bought tickets in advance via the website).  But once the doors opened, it moved quickly.

The floor area is probably less than the total for Festival of Quilts in the UK, but it feels bigger because of the stadium seating all round.  This also means that there are steps everywhere when you go in or out of the centre.

At the start of the show, there were crowds everywhere, so getting close to the winning exhibits was impossible. We saw everything close up later in the afternoon.

Each area of the competition has differently coloured walls - the 'Wa' or Japanese inspiration section had pale green.  We bumped into Susan Faeder and her tour group for the third time on our trip while we were looking at the quilts there.

A few minutes later, we were spotted by Shiro Tamakoshi from Euro Japan Links.  It seems quite strange to be bumping into people we know when we are about 10,000 miles away from home!

A few views of the show and traders' areas, which were around the edge of the floor.

There were a lot of kimono sellers, including some selling really high class pieces and a lot of traders selling antique indigo dyed cloth.

These ladies were wearing lovely 'kimono reform' outfits made from Oshima tsumugi.

After the show...

More photos - of quilts - soon!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Blue and White and other shopping in Tokyo

We had a change of plan today.  We started out at Yuzawaya in Asakusa where we bought some Noro wool, went to their Kamata branch to try to get some more (which they didn't have, but I did get some good sashiko threads) and then went to Amy Katoh's Blue and White shop in Azabu-jūban, Roppongi.  It was my first visit to the shop, although I've had Amy's books for years and love that quirky contemporary take on traditional Japanese country style. Getting to Azabu-jūban from Kamata isn't the most straightforward thing, and I think we didn't take the most direct route - after we'd been back to Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro, Glyn reckoned we'd been on ten different trains today.  Finding the shop from Azabu-jūban station was easy enough.

It is a small shop frontage on a very deep building (typical of older shop plots in Japan) and is crammed with interesting things, mainly but not only in blue and white.

We had only been in the shop about two minutes when Susan Faeder turned up with some of her tour group and Amy Katoh.  We hadn't planned to meet up at all so it was a real surprise.

We spent a lot of time chatting with Amy about this and that, including the wonderful chikuchiku sashiko made by Akiko Ike (there's several links to her work at the end of this blog post).  Blue and White will be celebrating their 40th anniversary next year, so it would be great to come back for that.  It is a fascinating gathering of things.  I got this year's calendar for my workroom and a few special bits and pieces to include in new projects.  Amy loved Glyn's Noro silk/wool sweater I made for him - it looks very much like sakiori rag weaving and has kept him cosy while we have been in Japan - so I've promised to write up a blog post soon with basic instructions for making a similar sweater.  It is really very easy.

We finished off the day with a return trip to Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro for one very small piece of brass for Glyn's turntable project, and very tired feet!  Tomorrow is the quilt show at the Tokyo Dome...

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

At the Amuse Museum yesterday

Here's some highlights from the Boro exhibition at the Amuse Museum yesterday.

As ususal, the captions are from collector and museum founder Chuzaburo Tanaka's writing.  There is a book of his stories and essays about his collection, but unfortunately it is only in Japanese - I think Yasuko bought a copy. I would love to be able to read that book in English.  One of the things I really like about his collection is how you can still feel the link to the makers.  All the boromono/boro pieces I have have passed through the hands of antique dealers or auctions, and that link has been lost.

I love the way this museum displays work - such as hanging pieces inside floating picture frames. There is a more playful and human approach to display than that used for the Somerset House boromono exhibition in London last year.

Glyn's favourite.  He's inspired to keep going with his boro jeans project.

Showing old pieces against strong colours really works.

Next to the 'special exhibition' gallery, there's a rail with a few items you can try on.  This hanten coat was quite a good fit for Glyn, even with his jumper underneath.  It was two layers, with mid blue indigo for the lining and darker 'commercial' kasuri cotton for the outside, held together with minute dark indigo sashiko stitches.

Sodenashi hanten with sashiko on stripes - double kakinohanazashi (persimmon flower stitch).

In the room showing a permanent exhibition about Kurosawa's film 'Dreams', there's a maekake apron stitched with Nanbu Hishizashi sashiko in wool on hemp.  You can try this on too.  Unfortunately the security wire isn't long enough to reach across to all the figures dressed like people in the film, otherwise you could get a sense of being part of it!

It goes rather well with Glyn's chunky Noro wool/silk sweater.

That yarn reminds me of sakiori weaving.  This sakiroi apron was used a costume in the film.

Mottainai - scrap bundles in the first exhibition hall.

When we came out of the museum, it was just starting to get dark on the Nakamise-dori.  We had a great day and enjoyed meeting everyone.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet Yasuko at the Festival of Quilts this year? We'll see.