Oct 30 2015

Chiaki Dosho: Textured Emotion


We haven’t had a chance yet to tell you about our trip to the European Patchwork Meeting. It was amazing, and it would take several blog posts to tell you half of what we experienced there. Spread out over a few charming towns in Alsace, France, the EPM hosted some of the highest quality art exhibitions around. So, what to tell you? After thinking about it for a bit (or procrastinating, think of Deb’s last post), we thought we’d start with one of the many artists we met there, Chiaki Dosho.
I have admired Chiaki’s work for a long time, so it was a joy to finally meet her, which Deb and I did at the reception for the Mixed Media Art Association. Most of the work displayed at this particular exhibition was monchromatic, very dimensional, and highly evocative. Photography was not allowed, but Chiaki’s piece was #2 in her Cocoon series. Here is Cocoon #1.

Chiaki Dosho Cocoon 1

Chiaki Dosho
Cocoon 1

Cocoon #2 (not shown) might even be better, with a horizontal white line with “fire” underneath it. In either case, the viewer is immediately drawn into the cocoon, wondering what could even be protected there.

Neither one of us were able to snap up Chiaki’s SAQA Benefit Auction piece this year, it sold so quickly:

Chiaki Dosho Cherry Blossom

Chiaki Dosho
Cherry Blossom

With her blood red cherry blossom, Chiaki is exaggerating the traditional beauty of the Japanese symbol of hope. This particular red cherry blossom evokes the red sun, the symbol of the Japanese flag (Japan, “Nihon,” basically means land of the rising sun), making it seem as if Chiaki has crammed all the good luck into this donation to the SAQA auction. The combination of red and white is always used for auspicious occasions, and Chiaki has imbued her piece with national identity as well as hope.

Chiaki presented us with brooches at the reception. Made from vintage kimono (as most of Chiaki’s work), they are exquisite. Our photos do no adequately capture the texture, sheen, and subtle color shifts you will find in Chiaki’s work. Deb’s is purple:

Chiaki  Dosho (/br> Purple Brooch

Chiaki Dosho
Purple Brooch

Here I am wearing my red brooch. The long, hanging threads in many of Chiaki’s works make me think of connections – the connections we’re all trying to make but sometimes can’t quite do. However you intepret Chiaki Dosho’s work, I am pretty sure you will be as moved by it as I am.
Kris wearing her brooch

Kris wearing her brooch

Oct 19 2015

Pacific International Quilt Festival


We enjoy going to quilt shows to see what other people do. Our most recent adventure took us to the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara. It’s an uneven show–some years the show is really good, other years, well, not so much. This was not the best year. Having said that there were some really stunning quilts and some quilts with really interesting quilting.
For me there were a few quilts that caught my eye from a distance, and I was pulled in to look at them closer. Christine Seager’s Bush Fire was the first one. Very simple quilting, but what a wonderful composition. I’m not sure that I saw trees before I read the title, but afterward I could see nothing but fire and trees.

Christing Seager

Christine Seager
Brush Fire

Another stunner was Kimberly Lacy’s Fire in the Stone. It really captured the essence of the rock formations in the southwest desert. I wasn’t disappointed when I stepped in for a closer look.

The third quilt that I kept coming back to was Evelyn Wickham’s Jazz for the Mid-century Modern exhibit. I loved the combination of colors and shapes, the repetition of those shapes, and it truly had that mid-century modern feel. I’m sorry she didn’t win a prize. She would have been my first choice.

Evelyn Wickham

Evelyn Wickham

Then there were the quilts with quilting that spoke to me. Another one of the Mid-century modern quilts, Bev Bird’s White Spaces was one. The artist stated she was inspired by André Courrèges. If you’re not familiar with the name, Google him. If you’re my age, you’ll certainly be familiar with his fashions. I love it when something in a statement leads me to investigate further. After looking up Courrèges, I can’t say I see the connection between Courrèges’ iconical work (not that I’ve seen much of it) and Bird’s, but it does read mid-century. I love the quilting lines! Kris and I use a lot of straight-ish (we call them organic) lines in our text quilts. But Bird takes the lines one step further. She varies the direction, and sometimes the lines intersect. It makes for wonderful texture in the quilt.

Another piece where the quilting lines really made the quilt was Letitia Chung’s Whimsical Logs. Without the quilting, this quilt would have just been another modern take on the traditional log cabin design. It’s the stitching lines that really give this quilt its pizazz!

The next three quilts caught my eye with their circular details. The texture in Jody Robinson’s Keep It Simple was hard not to touch. The pattern of quilted dots turned this simple quilt in to something worthy of its blue ribbon.

Jan Hutchison’s Sunflower Deco, was a visual feast. Lots of stitching and trapunto. But what really caught my attention was the stitching of the stripes at the bottom of the quilt. A simple but effective use of straight lines.

Last, but not least, is Beth Shillig’s Wandering ‘Round My World. You may have seen this quilt in magazines and on other blogs. But in person, it’s just amazing. The quilting, the construction, and the composition make it worthy of its first place ribbon in the innovative category.

I’ll never do the intricate quilting that Beth and some of the other quilters do, but it’s sure fun to see the stitches in person.

Oct 14 2015

Procrastinating in Black and White


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to procrastinate. You know, those times you should be doing something productive, but you’d rather check out all the Facebook posts from the last year. And one post leads you to a website or blog, that leads you to something else, that leads you to something really cool. Well that’s what it was like yesterday. I was testing out links from the SAQA conference page and landed on Maria Shell’s website (because she’s going to be one of the speakers at the SAQA conference in Philadelphia next year). I hadn’t checked out her blog in a while, so I clicked over to Maria Shell’s blog. She was discussing her series of quilts depicting chairs. She gave examples of chairs created by many artists. One of the artists was Wang Huaiqing. Beautiful black and white or grayscale images of chairs. I didn’t know of Wang, so being in procrastination mode, I had to Google him/her. Mr. Wang’s stylized furniture paintings are really worth a look.

Well, that got me thinking about several black and white quilts I had seen in the past month. As with black and white photography, there’s just something appealing about black and white, or black, white and gray quilts. One was Maria Shell’s donation to the 2015 SAQA benefit auction.

Maria C. Shell, Trance

Maria Shell

Then I recalled several black and white quilts that Kris and I saw in Europe. Mirjam Pet-Jacobs posed with Kris in front of her quilt Square City. If you happen to visit Heidelberg, Germany before January 10, 2016, you can see this quilt and many others at The 6th European Quilt Triennale.

Kris Sazaki and Miriam Pet-Jacobs in front of Square City

Kris Sazaki and Miriam Pet-Jacobs
in front of Square City

The European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie aux Mines, France, had a few stunning black and white quilts, too. Among Erica Waaser’s brightly colored quilts was this wonderful piece.

Erica Waaser White Afternoon

Erica Waaser
White Afternoon

Harue Konishi’s piece in the Mixed Media Art Association’s exhibition was also intrigueing. I loved the way she cut apart the work and stitched it back together. It made for a much more interesting quilt.

Sheila Frampton-Cooper’s Untamed Symphony was another black and white piece among an exhibit of her very vivid quilts. Your jaw just drops looking at the stitching.

I really love color, so I’m not sure what made me so hyper-aware of the black and white pieces. Perhaps it was several weeks of looking at half-timbered architecture. (Or maybe it was all that amazing iron work – look at the restaurant sign to the right.)

Half-timber House Neuberg Am Rhein Germany

Half-timber House
Neuberg Am Rhein, Germany

Or loving the pattern in one of our works in progress.

Pixeladies  Work in Progress

Work in Progress

Whatever the reason, I hope you enjoy looking at these pieces as much as I did.