Tuesday, May 01, 2012


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.)

The quilts of the other Twelves will appear today on our blog.


ViDerTextil said...

j'adore le jeu des couleurs!!!

homeschooled said...

I love your quilt and the "story" you tell with it.

Judy said...

What a neat quilt, and I enjoyed reading your story about what led you to create it. The cherry blossoms are a nice touch.

artfilstitch said...


I love your interpretation of Kyoto, it is a really beautiful city. I loved my trip there also, wish I could go again. I have had a major health issue, so my travels have been curtailed.
Enjoy reading your blog.


jenclair said...

A beautiful quilt, made even more so by the meaningful fabrics and the descriptions you give!

Anonymous said...

I love the way in which you tell your story, Francoise. A beautiful and meaningful quilt!

Linda Stokes said...

Wonderful quilt Francoise. I enjoyed your story as well - would love to go back to Kyoto one day. Also great to look at some of the photos of your latest trip.
Thanks for your kind comment too.

The String Empire said...

Beautiful. I love the stitch details.