Quilts Japan: The Quilt Nihon (Japan) Exhibition is an international exhibition sponsored by the Japan Handicraft Instructors' Association (JHIA) which is supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The exhibit is coming to The National Quilt Museum this October. The contest from which this exhibit pulls is the biggest quilting contest in Japan and was conceived to promote this beautiful art form.

Quilts Japan: The 13th Quilt Nihon Exhibition will open at The National Quilt Museum on October 12, and continues through January 15, 2019. There will be a special gallery talk on opening day at 9:30 am.

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Since the 5th exhibition this contest and resulting show has become an international one and has risen in prestige. The 13th competition drew 341 quilt entries from 12 countries. Judging took place in November 2015, and 79 quilts, in both traditional and contemporary categories ,were selected for display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in April 2016. This traveling exhibition features 35 of these stunning quilts, all by Japanese makers.

iLove the ArtsThere are 35 quilts in the exhibit including Ring, by Yuko Maekawa.

Yuko Maekawa’s “Ring” was the Grand Prix & Minister of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology Award winner.

“When I was a child, I learned about the ‘law of the conservation of energy’ in a science class,” said Maekawa. “If energy from motion is conserved, then regardless of shape or size, I personally hope that energy from living creatures will not disappear. This idea became the original image of my work. Life's energy circulates in many of the ‘rings’ that float in the universe. In the rings, roots sprout from tiny seeds; then roots grow; flowers bloom; trees grow; and again, they make seeds. Thanks to plants and vegetation, animals and insects can live. However small a life may be, it is very precious and being alive itself is a great joy. Furthermore, there is a ring on the outside and life that leapt out of the ring is not wasted.

The background was assembled by machine piecing the kaleidoscope pattern and organizing the colors so that they depicted rings. The center part was all done by hand. I used appliqué and embroidery. There were so many leaves that I remember I would sigh in relief with every finished piece. I appliquéd many living creatures and hope you will enjoy looking for them.”

Saeko Hasumuro’s “Prayer for Peace” was the Gold Award winner and will also be on display.

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“When I travelled to Wakayama, I was impressed with the tile pictures at the Turkish Museum. I am worried about the recent situation in Turkey, and therefore, I made this quilt with hopes that peace will soon come to Turkey,” Hasumuro said about her piece.

For more information about this and other ongoing and future exhibits at the NQS, please visit quiltmuseum.org.

Japan Handicraft Instructors' Association (JHIA)

iLove the ArtsThe JHIA was founded in 1964, when Tadanobu Seto started the Vogue Handicraft Consulting Association. In order to perpetuate the handcraft culture in Japan, it was essential to educate highly-skilled craftspeople to teach. By 1969, the completion of instructor education was highly regarded, and it was accredited by the Minister of Education and Cultural Sports in Japan. That was the time when Vogue Handicraft Consulting Association changed its name to Japan Handicraft Instructors' Association.

Forty-four years have passed since then, and JHIA continues to educate instructors, and promote handicraft activities. Currently, the number of instructors is over 12,000, consisting of eight specialized divisions: Knitting, embroidery, lace, patchwork quilt, painting, hand weaving, leather craft, and flower art; and 6000 of these members are quilters.