We admire Hawaiian quilts with their symmetrical designs that bring to mind the tropical flowers of the islands. Hawaii is 3,850 miles from Japan, and the Japanese people have a long history of living in and traveling to the Hawaiian islands. The famous Japanese quilt designer, Kathy Nakajima, was born on the island of Maui. She designed several of these quilts, which are all painstakingly hand appliqued and hand quilted by Japanese artists.
Tiare Tiare Moorea E by Yachiyo Katsuno (Setagaya, Tokyo Japan)
Japanese quilters excel in carrying out the large-scale applique work of Hawaiian designs. Yachiyo Katsuno says, “As soon as I saw this fabric, the bell rang in my head as Tahiti! Tiare! Moorea Island!!! Tiare Tahiti is a kind of gardenia that graces the hair of the lovely Tahitian women."
This original design quilt was hand appliqued and hand quilted. The hand-dyed ombre fabric gives the quilt a lovely soft appearance, with the appliqued design blending into the background and enhanced by echo quilting.
Remembering the Island of Hawaii by Fumiyo Sano (Gotemba, Shizouka, Japan)
This lovely quilt reminds us of a fern grotto. Fumiyo Sano says, "Fern shapes are so interesting that I used one of them to make this quilt as a gift to the future generations." The design is by Kathy Nakajima. This lovely quilt was hand appliqued and quilted with echo quilting.
Lokelani by Mikiko Sakurada (Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan)
Mikiko Sakurada says, "The rose was introduced into Hawaii long ago by immigrants. The rose blooms beautifully at any time, no matter where it is grown." This beautiful and unique design is also by Kathy Nakajima. The gorgeous center design is embellished with an extra layer of appliqued roses in slightly different shades of rose pink, as shown below.
A Bumper Crop of Mangoes by Akiko Sato (Takasaki, Gunma, Japan
The mango fruit is revered in many cultures as a symbol of attainment. This quilt has special meaning for Akiko Sato, who says, "I made a wish that my son would have a successful life, as represented by the branches heavily laden with mangoes." Akiko hand appliqued and quilted this design by Kathy Nakajima. Akiko's precise echo quilting can be seen in the closeup photo below.
Queen Emma's Flower Vase by Toshiko Kurihara (Suginami, Tokyo, Japan)
Toshiko Kurihara says, "This traditional Hawaiian quilt is simple, but I enjoyed seeing the motifs clearly coming to life." We think that this quilt is anything but simple! See the intricate Anthurium and Ginger (Alpinia purpurata) shapes in the closeup photo below, and the perforated cutouts in the vase. The design is by Kathy Nakajima.
Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival. For more inspiration and photos, see our 2010 post on Hawaiian Quilts.