Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Heian

Heian-kyo was the name of Kyoto at the time it was the capital city of Japan. It means something like "peace capital".
I knew at once that I wanted to make a map quilt related to Japan, especially since a fourth trip to Kyoto was planned at the beginning of April.
In March, I quickly made a little sketch and wrote down some ideas based on my former trips to Japan, but I decided not to start the quilt before this new trip.
When I came back, I drew a very rough map of Kyoto featuring most of the experiences of this trip.The two vertical light blue lines represent the Katsura and the Kamo rivers. The green areas are the parks, the gardens and the forests. I've added pink little spots to represent the amazing cherry blossoms. The three brightly coloured striped areas are there to remind me of these elegant women celebrating the beauty of spring by wearing their most gorgeous kimonos. Most red spots are shrines. The yellow rectangle is Kinkakuji. The shibori dark blues are there to feature the textile workshops and galleries we visited.
Actually, every piece of fabric in this quilt has a special meaning to me. At some point while working on this quilt, I began to think that it was much too busy. I like simple, almost minimalist, work. But on the other hand, each time I go to Japan, I'm overwhelmed by its beauty and the richness of my personal experience. Thus, I decided it was ok this time to squeeze many things into my quilt. Finally, I didn't resist the urge to add a little piece of the weaving I had done in Osaka.
I don't know if I really like this quilt from an esthetic point of view, but I certainly had fun making it and, in some way, it helped me to "digest" this trip and to come back to real plain old life in Belgium. ;-)
Here are a few detail shots of the quilt. (The colours of the quilt are a bit brighter and lighter in person.)
I've posted more detail shots on my blog, here.

14 comments:

Diane Perin Hock said...

What a beautiful interpretation of Kyoto, Fran& ccedil; oise! My first thought at how busy this is (compared to many of your other pieces) was that it suits the jumble and compressed life of Japanese cities. I really appreciate your using it to represent your emotional reaction to Kyoto, too! It's a lovely piece and I'm happy to see you use your recent travels for this challenge!

nicolette at dutchcomfort said...

Love to see this Kyoto map Françoise! It really represents you, though this work is more outspoken than I’m used to see from your hand. Love that you added the handwoven piece!

JB said...

This may be your most sophisticated quilt yet. I do not find it jumbled, but a sum of elements that work together to form a most pleasing whole. The small bits of bright colors enhance the more somber colors.

Kristin L said...

I like that you reconciled the relative busy-ness of this quilt with the overwhelming inspiration you get from your visits. It's important to stretch a bit. I also appreciate the meanings associated with each of the fabrics. I think conceptually, this is a very successful piece. :-)

Karen said...

isn't it great to be able to make a piece of art that represents your real life experiences. I can see the kimono's the women were wearing in your stripes and the dappled blue fabric is very reminiscent of the rivers.

Gerrie said...

This still has Françoise all over it, even though it is a departure from your normal quiet, zen-like work. Because this place is so special to you, I think it exudes happiness. Makes me want to hop on a plane to Japan.

Terri Stegmiller said...

It's lovely and what a great portrayal of your travels to Japan.

Terry said...

I knew before I read your text that the little pink bits represented cherry blossoms. They are my favorite thing of all the wonderful things about this piece. I see the busy-ness of a crowded city and the peacefulness of water and dappled sunlight and blue sky. Simple. Beautiful.

kirsty said...

Yes, it still has your stillness, even with the brighter and broader palette! Very you!

Brenda Gael Smith said...

What a fabulous example of how to incorporate shibori fabrics in a pieced quilt! However, like Terry, my favourite element are those sakura blossoms. And the straight line quilting reminds me of bamboo but maybe I am imagining things!

Nikki said...

Beautiful! I too was surprised by your bold use of color, but it perfectly captures the feel of a busy city. I love the cherry blossoms and the weaving reflecting on the water in the bottom.

Françoise said...

Thank you for the nice comments. And yes Brenda, there are a few bamboo groves in this quilt! :-)

Deborah Boschert said...

I was so intrigued by your description that I went to google maps to look at a map of Kyoto and I can see Kinkakuji sitting in the north and slightly west of the city, I can also pick out the rivers and a few of the temples. Amazing! I don't think the average viewer would recognize it as a map, but after reading your description and looking at the map, I am fascinated by how closely you stuck to the actual elements and their placement -- and still made it work as an art quilt! Lovely.

Helen Conway said...

I too have happy memories of Kyoto although I dodnt know it as well as you. I have not yet done what Deborah did and compared it to a street map but the colours alone take me tight back to a place where we saw geisha in briigh kimonos set against the dark of forests behind the pagoda.