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Sunday, November 18, 2007


Two Books by Kumiko Sudo

Book Review: Kake-Jiku: Images of Japan in Applique, Fabric Origami and Sashiko and

Wagashi: Handcrafted Fashion Art from Japan

By Kumiko Sudo
Breckling Press: 2006-2007
Paperbound: 140-150 pages
Retail $27.95 – 29.95

Kumiko Sudo has been one of the most prolific quilt artists and authors of recent years, producing book after book of exquisite Japanese designs and patterns for other quilters to savor and adapt to their own artistic purposes. Recently Sudo has been publishing with Breckling Press, which continues to publish some of the finest new quilting titles. Her latest two books, Kake-Jiku and Wagashi, translate traditional Japanese art into the realm of quilting and fabric arts. Kake-Jiku refers to traditional Japanese scroll work made of paper and silk, with calligraphy or images on it. These typically 24 X 60-inch artworks are often changed with the seasons in Japanese homes. The similarity to wall quilts springs to mind, and this is what Sudo gives us in this book – designs for 15 wall quilts based on Kake-Jiku scroll motifs. She blends in the personal through the thematic treatment of her own memories of her life in Japan (she now lives in the U.S.), including such images as spinning tops, bamboo blinds, and packets of incense. As always, she provides plenty of instruction on techniques – in this case a combination of appliqué, fabric origami, and sashiko. The designs are completely captivating and the renderings in the book are superb.

In Wagashi, Sudo turns her attention to Japanese fashion. Wagashi are highly wrought fancy candies made for Japanese tea parties and ceremonies, and represent “art in miniature” for Sudo. The twenty-two projects presented in this book are inspired by this idea, using a variety of techniques to demonstrate the making of fabric jewelry, small handbags, pin cushions, and other charming items.

These two books, in a smallish square format, are also pieces of art in themselves. They make great coffee table books for browsing by visitors (that is, if you haven’t dog-eared them too badly in doing the projects!)

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