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Quilt Artistry: Inspired Designs from the East [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Yoshiko Jinzenji
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2009
Yoshiko Jinzenji began quilting after she came upon quilts made by Canadian Mennonites and was deeply moved by their resonant, sacred quality. The richly minimalist quilts she makes today are as powerful as those that originally inspired her. "Quilt Artistry", available now in a paperback edition, presents Jinzenji's unforgettable quilt creations in 100 colour photos, and 300 black-and-white photos and diagrams. There are also a total of 90 projects for everyone from beginners to the most advanced quilters. Jinzenji is a superb dyer and often makes quilts from fabric or fibre she colours with natural dyes, including very subtle and rich bamboo-dyed white silk. In other quilts she uses antique fabric collected from around the world, or she utilizes innovative synthetics such as black metallic cloth created by well-known textile designer Jun'ichi Arai. No matter what the material, her quilts all have a remarkable, quiet power. Like classic North American quilts, Jinzenji's work resonates with a spiritual quality, but one that is rooted in an Asian, even Buddhist sensibility. Jinzenji has always wanted to 'give something back' to the Western quilting tradition that first inspired her and, with this book, she is wonderfully successful. In addition to full-size quilts, Jinzenji demonstrates how to make quilted pillows, purses, necklaces, decorative objects, table mats, tiny miniature quilt 'mandalas' and even a hammock. Detailed patterns and instructions are included for all projects shown. Quilt makers, as well as anyone with an interest in textiles or design, will find Quilt Artistry as inspirational as it is practical. This book presents an inspirational look into how one artist has transformed the traditional craft of quilting - now in paperback edition. Over 400 photos and illustrations show Jinzenji's beautifully minimalist quilts are as powerful as the antique quilts that originally inspired her. Detailed patterns and instructions are included for all projects shown. Jinzenji's pieces are in the permanent collections of the International Quilt Study Centre & Museum (Nebraska); Museum of Art & Design (New York); and The Victoria & Albert Museum (London), amongst many other museums.


Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd; 1st softcover edition (1 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030991
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030993
  • Product Dimensions: 30.3 x 20.3 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 536,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

A must have book for any textile aficionado. Yoshiko Jinzenji's richly minimalist quilts have had a global impact and Quilt Artistry demonstrates why. --Selvedge

"During her 30 years of artisanal quilt making, Jinzenji has synthesized a wide range of cultural styles, from the stitching handiwork of Amish and Mennonite quilts and the patchwork altar cloths of her native Japan to the dyeing traditions of Bali. Jinzenji conveys a sense of spiritual portentousness in her approach: 'What I am striving for is to bring out and add to the essential textures of the cloth, to create shadows and light, and to find a balance between minimalism and a sense of richness.' Incorporating lustrous fabrics, some made by textile designer Jun'ichi Arai, and handmade paper, as well as competing patterns and cross textures, Jinzenji sometimes seems to err on the side of richness over minimalism. Her work succeeds best, however, when it's at its most subtle and clean. --Publisher's Weekly

From the Author

Author's Introduction

For me, quilting and natural dyeing are complementary elements in the same act of transforming cloth.

The quilts that initially inspired me to begin quilting, and that continue to fascinate me, are antique Amish and Mennonite works. After I began quilting about thirty years ago, I traveled many times to Indonesia, eventually establishing my studio there, and at one point I encountered the Indonesian selendang, a striking traditional shawl that very much resembled the Amish quilts that I already loved.

I wondered what it was that these two forms had in common, since the selendang is not quilted or pieced, and then I realized that they both were dyed with natural dye. This drove home to me the power of dyeing cloth with natural materials.

Quilting, dyeing, and the combinations of textures in the cloth itself -- all are elements that alter the surface of cloth, adding shadows and shapes that reflect light in different ways, and creating a pleasing rhythm of alternating tension and relaxation.

In addition to natural dyeing, I have often made quilts from the extremely innovative synthetic materials made by Jun'ichi Arai, one of Japan's best-known textile designers. In any case, no matter what the material, what I am striving for is to bring out and add to the essential textures of the cloth, to create shadows and light, and to find a balance between minimalism and a sense of richness.

My work has always been a natural progression from one interest to the next -- one adventure or experiment after another -- and this book is basically a record of that adventure.

I have received so much inspiration from traditions that arose outside Japan -- primarily from the quilting of North America and also from Asian dyeing and weaving traditions. I hope that by publishing this introduction to my work in English I can give back to the quilting world a little bit of what I have received. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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I have a very clear memory of my first encounter with quilts. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure quality 27 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover
This is a quilting book in a league of it's own. Superb finish and presentation. If you like the simple,natural, minimalist approach to quilting laced with outstanding technical skill and inspiration you will love and treasure this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but Fragmented. 4 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback
For me this book falls half way between two stools. On the one hand, it attempts to be a showcase of Jinzenji's work, on the other, it tries to be a project book when it really doesn't need to be. I would have prefered more inspiration and less instruction. Nevertheless Jinzenji's love of texture, and incredible flair for dyeing and manipulating fabric shines through; her love of stitch is also plain to see. Had the publisher (or whoever) decided to focus more on Jinzenji's work, rather than include projects (or at least put them in a separate section at the back of the book), Quilt Artistry would have felt less fragmented and been a real feast for the eyes. However, I would still recommend this book since the work included is inspirational and beautifully balanced, and I'm sure readers will find her subtelety and Eastern sensibility very appealing.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 30 Nov 2010
By CJ Craig VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With all the hype over this textile artist I was expecting more. Having just ordered her latest book (not yet published) I hope the new one will give me what I am looking for in quilting art. This particular book certainly did not. The descriptions are not easy to follow and the photography of some items is not very good. There is very little to explain how this Japanese textile artist works or how she achieves the results she does. Some items are beautiful but there is so little guidance that attempting to learn her techniques is well nigh impossible; at least it was for me. Perhaps those more skilled than me will find it more enlightening but I can't say I've gained much from this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful. 30 April 2003
By Britt Arnhild Lindland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Yoshiko Jinzenji has made a beautiful book showing her magnificient quilts and pieces of fabric arts.

The book itself, photos, paper, printing, writing, style, is a piece of art. A book you will be happy to own, no matter if you are a quilter or just a book lover. A perfect coffee table book for any home, though this one is so much more than a coffee table book. This book deserves to be read and be looked through again and again.
Yoshiko Jinzenji has been a quilter for a lifetime, and during these years she has developed her own unique and perfect style. We get to know Jinzenji through the pages of the book, both through words and through pictures. We meet her and her quilts in Kyoto, and we meet her in her studio in Bali. The book also have a section on how to make quilts, easy to read, easy to follow the step by step instructions. Jinzenji makes her quilts from ancient fabric collected from around the world, and she makes her quilts from natural dyes in light, clean colors. But no matter what the fabric is, her vibrant quilts all stand out and have all their own story to tell
The highlights in the book though are the pictures. The somewhat clean and stylish picture of a Small Modern Amish quilt displayed on the wall in her Kyoto home, the fantastic puzzle of an uncountable number of small Mandala quilts put together to form a universe in colors, cloths and patterns, the collague of many pictures from scenes around her studio in Bali as inspirations for future quilts.
The way the writing and photos in the book are put together shows the reader a new way to look at the surroundings, and through that a new way to look at life. Or to say it with the words from the foreword of the book, written by textile designer Jun'ichi Arai; I am convinced that Yoshiko Jinzenji's achievements in establishing a new genre in quilting will never be forgotten.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! 10 Feb 2003
By K. M. Biagioli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is beautifully written and designed. The cover and paper used are artful. Yoshiko Jenzenji shares her passion for quilting in a way that weaves a common thread through cultures, locales, nature, and spirituality. I could feel my heart swell as I read through this book and as I looked at and studied the photographs. This is a book about her quilts and about quilting--but the photography and artistry of its cover and between its covers makes it a special treasure. I am excited to own this book and will be proud to display it. I am so inspired by Yoshiko Jenzenji's quilt work and passion for quilting. I became dizzy with inspiration! I will recommend it to every friend I have--and not all of them are quilters! I would think they would all want to BECOME quilters after experiencing this book. Yoshiko Jenzenji seemed to open her heart and her home with this book. I am thankful to her for sharing her passion and talent with the world!
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite portrait of an exquisite mind 16 April 2003
By Douglas BULLIS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A piece of fabric is the pulse of life is written across our eyes by drape, shape, texture, and hue. Art forms, and perhaps art itself, have their own genetic codes-forms of doubling and redoubling that, as DNA does with the cell, determine a look, a feel, a character, an emotion. Lucky, then, are the pieces of fabric doubled and redoubled by the eyes and hands of Yoshiko Jinzenji. A few snips of color and weave become a mix of art and the irrepressible urge to adorn that make you want to dive off this world and into what you see.
She best articulates the origins of all this in her book's Introduction:
"I have a very clear memory of my first encounter with quilts. It was in Toronto in the winter of 1970, in the furniture section of Eaton's department store downtown. There, surrounded by standardized fluffy bedspreads, were two handmade quilts draped over wooden racks. I went over to them as if drawn by a magnet and took them in my hand, wondering what on earth these handmade quilts were doing in the middle of a display of manufactured goods. The oddity of the combination was stunning. The quilts were made by joining together many small pieces of cloth and then covering the whole with fine hand stitching. Each had a price tag, and I was stunned again to see that they were not much more expensive than the manufactured spreads. Who could have made these, I asked myself, and what had inspired their beautiful handwork
Yoshiko's work is a textile manifestation of the preoccupation with apres-antique and avant-garde that characterizes so much of Japanese culture today. On page 40 she recounts the symbiosis of ancient textiles in the tea ceremony; a scant 7 pages further on were are suddenly confronted with a work made of some of the most interesting cloth ideations of Jun'ichi Arai. Jun'ichi is arguably the most innovative and certainly the most influential textile creative artist working today-the textile equivalent of Issey Miyake's fabrications in his heyday of two decades ago. Jun'ichi has taken the marriage of technology and history further down the road to progeny than any other designer. He also is an astonishingly good and sensitive writer, and his Foreword to Yoshiko's book is so good that it is reproduced below.
Yoshiko, like Jun'ichi, is nothing if not a creative technician who happens to make art. Her text and caption content sums to an amazingly low overall word count given the amount of detail and philosophy it conveys. One reason is the lush plates-many so good they could be enlarged and hung in a gallery devoted to contemporary fine-art photography. Then there are the dozens of step-by-step how-to diagrams that guide the home quilter through the process of emulating Yoshiko's pieces. The readers need not be especially accomplished sewers, either, for despite their complex look, Yoshiko's pieces are really composed of fairly straightforward elements lines and patterns; there's just a lot of them. Any who would re-create one of her works at home needs patience more than proficiency.
Yoshiko is generous enough to pass along step-by-step instructions for a dyeing method she found via experiment in order to accomplish what must be the ultimate coals-to-Newcastle notion in textile history: dyeing white material white. That might seem an exercise in conceit, but the reason goes far back into the wellsprings of Japanese aesthetics. As she tells it,
"I had been making quilts for years from fabrics that I dyed myself with natural dyes when I had a kind of awakening. It was during an exhibition where my work was being shown together with that of a lacquerware artist. When I looked at his pieces, with their simple and beautiful form and their quiet sheen achieved by applying lacquer in careful layers, I thought, what kind of fabric could I make that would have the same sense of power? Finally it came to me, I wanted to find a natural dye that would dye cloth white. . . . In the field of natural dyes white was the one color no one knew how to obtain. For me white was suggestive of the fusuma and shoji sliding doors used to separate Japanese-style rooms, as well as the traditions of sumi ink drawings and calligraphy and even the white sand of Zen gardens."
"Finally I hit on the idea of trying that strange combination of tree and grass, bamboo. Two or three hours later the cloth had been transformed. It was if the silk was a prism sparkling with colors like pink, yellow, and green. It was a white with depths."
Yoshiko's book is a combination of high art and ladle-in-the-dyebath practicality. The many full-plate and even more part-page pictures amply illustrate the first. The drawings and text take care of the latter. With so many active quilters and societies all around the world these days, few would argue that quilting isn't an art form. With Yoshiko's book in hand, anyone interested in quilting, textiles, home design, or fashion design will be inspired to make art of their own. Her 90 specific projects, clear design patterns and detailed instructions can guide just about anyone with enthusiasm and patience to make quilts, pillows, clutch purses, mandalas, spreads, wall hangings, and even a hammock to end all hammocks. Yoshiko's work is a rarity even in the world of art-to-wear and its nonwearable textile art relatives: utterly unique.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected 13 Sep 2009
By LuvKimono - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What I had hoped for was a book that showcased the use of traditional fabrics from Japan. And while there are some "mandala" quilt blocks (5 7/8 inch each) that are made from antique Japanese, Phillipino, Indian and Indonesian fabrics along with some instructions on how to piece a kimono into a small quilt without wasting any of the fabric, the vast majority of the book showcases work done with either vanguard textiles by Junichi Arai or silk fabric handwoven and dyed with natural dyes found in Indonesia. Some of the works are extraordinary; some are quite mediocre.

Jinzenji's best works are full size quilts in white or pale colors with little or no patchwork piecing that are so densely quilted it is the sewn surface's shape and lines that that attract and hold the eye. Other works, with names like "Sound" and "Dew," and "Color" borrow from the American Amish and prairie quilting traditions in their use of grid layouts and techniques like log cabin and seminole piecing. Jinzenji calls some of her works "engineered," and indeed, they are quite "technical" in appearance and in the quality of the workmanship. These are very beautiful quilts, and the drawings presented with some of them should make it possible for an intermediate quilter to produce similar works. How she pieced the mandala blocks with the vintage textiles into tiny 5 7/8 inch blocks remains a mystery to me even after reading through the book. All of the blocks were complex patterns with many pieces--one of them had 81 pieces. Making a block that is less than 6 inches on each side with that many pieces would be just about impossible even if one sews them by hand, as Jinzenji recommends.

I was not inspired by her attempts at braiding or quilting objects like hammocks, pillows or placemats. I thought these looked amateurish and unfinished. Nevertheless, this is a very beautiful book that does have a place in quilter's library as inspiration for certain kinds of techniques.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book 14 Sep 2009
By E. Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even if you never plan to make a quilt, this book is worth having simply to enjoy the inspired designs. The photography is wonderful, which enhances the stunning artistry of the quilts. And if you DO want to make a quilt, this book should inspire. The author gives instructions as well as history. Lovely.
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