Title: Oral Tradition

Year Completed: 1986

Size: H76.5” × W58.5” / H194 cm × W148 cm

Material: old cotton (aizome, akanezome) new cotton (furoshiki, apron, table center) When I purchased the akanezome fabrics for this quilt they were already well more than one hundred years old, and had been used for women's kimono linings. They showed limited signs of fading, and I used those portions to give a sense of gradations. This quilt was exhibited widely in the next few years, and I began to see signs of severe fading. I have to conclude the exposure to artificial lighting causes this kind of fabric to fade much more than sunlight does.

Statement: Between BOHKYOH (Hometown Nostalgia) and Kyoto (Old Capital) a year and a half had elapsed. When BOHKYOH was finished, I had thought nothing could be more complicated, but when I completed KOTO (Old Capital) I had realized that there were still more possibilities even though KOTO was more complicated than BOHKYOH. Thus after only six months I began DENSHOH (Oral Tradition), my third reversible quilt. I had continued to accumulate aizome fabrics in particular solids, whose depth and feeling I came to understand more and more. These cloths crossed the Pacific with me, and back in New York I would gaze at them every day, and talked with them. When, how, and by whom were these fabrics woven and dyed, and with what thoughts as they were made (for kimonos, or bedding, or for furoshiki?)? Their histories were all different...some were practically new, even though nearly one hundred years old, while others had become so worn that only a few places were still usable. In Japan one often finds objects which intentionally block one's line of vision into interior spaces. These often have the effect (whether intentional or not) of creating a sense of greater depth than one would perceive in their absence. In this design I used squares which seem to overlap to give this sense of greater depth.

(Collection of International Quilt Museum: Lincoln, NE)

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