Quilt Museum Hosts US Premiere 'Best of Japan'
By Ro Morse
PADUCAH, KY - Each year during the annual AQS Quilt Show and Contest in Paducah, hundreds of the visiting quilters come from Japan to be part of our national celebration if the art if quilting. Magnificent quilting art is significant in this Asian country. Now, The National Quilt Museum )(NQM)) hosts the premiere of a new exhibit "11th Quilt Japan" featuring the best of the best in Japan.
Frank Bennett, NQM's Executive Director says, "This international exhibit is seen in the U.S. for the first time at Paducah's National Quilt Museum. "11th Quilt Japan" brings the best of Asian quilting to The NQM. This exhibit features the winners of the most significant quilt contest in Japan. Winning this contest is at par with a U.S. golfer winning The Masters."
The traveling exhibit "11th Quilt Japan" will be on exhibit at The National Quilt Museum from June 14 - September 9. The quilts in this exhibit are from the annual "11th Quilt Japan" contest. The contest is the most admired and highly contested quilting competition in Japan. This year over 370 quilts were submitted to the contest from artists in a dozen different countries. The quilters recognized in this contest are considered to be among the most talented in all of the Asian countries.
An import from the United States, quilting has taken Japan and surrounding countries by storm in recent years. Numerous magazines in Japan are devoted to quilting including Quilting Japan and Patchwork Quilt Tsushin. Touring quilt exhibits open to large audiences similar to a Monet or Picasso exhibit in American. For example, two years ago the first showing of "9th Quilt Japan" at Quilt Festival Nagoya received 30,000 visitors in five days.
The process for becoming a master quilter in Japan is long and laborious. Unlike the United States, in Japan quilters are required to go through rigorous training and instruction and also apprenticeships with more experienced quilters before they can consider themselves "masters". The quilters whose work is on exhibit as part of "11th Quilt Japan" have been working on their crafts for many years.
"11th Quilt Japan" was first exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in April 2012. It will only be exhibited at three museums in the United States. The spirit of Japan is readily found in every quilt in this 33 piece exhibit. The mix of traditional and contemporary quilts shows the exquisite attention to detail that one can only develop through years of practice. The quilts challenge the viewer with unique colors, shapes and styles.
The Museum is located in a 27,000-square-foot facility located in the 200 block between Jefferson, Monroe, North 2nd and North 3rd Streets in historic downtown Paducah. For more information, visit www.quiltmuseum.org.
Information for parts of this article is provided by Susan Edwards and Frank Bennett, National Quilt Museum.