Monday, May 20, 2013

The Hokkaido Quilt Show

Being illiterate is very difficult at times, but I do the best I can.

Quilt “Week” and the Hokkaido Quilt Show were held Thursday – Saturday in Sapporo last week. I found out about it through an events listing for Sapporo. I looked the Japanese website for the show and with the help of google translate figured out most of the important details. I figured out the location and how to get there by bus and subway.  The website said admission was 1500 yen at the door or a discounted price of 1200 yen for tickets purchased at the convenience store. I went to the convenience store and said in Japanese, I want to buy a ticket, and pointed to the quilt show logo on my iPod.  The clerk pointed to the back of the store.  I thought, oh, no, what did I say to make him point me to the restrooms?  As it turned out, he was pointing me to a machine in the back of the store that dispensed tickets.  The machine was in Japanese, of course, so I needed his help.  He poked around at the machine for several minutes, then rattled off something in Japanese and gave me the crossed arm signal.  The only words I understood were May 15.  Maybe he was saying I needed to buy the ticket before the show started, which was the 16th, but I don’t know. Anyway, I didn’t get the discount ticket.

I got to the show location a little before the opening time of 10 am and waited to buy my ticket.  While I was waiting, a woman sat down next to me and started talking to me in Japanese. She didn’t speak English and I didn’t understand most of what she was saying.  I did understand that she wanted to know where I was from, and I could answer that.  The quilt show offered several hour and a half classes with small projects for 500 yen (also known as one coin) and I showed her the picture on my iPod of one I wanted to take that started at 10:30 am.  That she understood and pulled out projects from three classes at the quilt show the day before that she had taken.  She wanted to take the same class I did and knew where to go for it, so I followed her. She didn’t ask my weight, but did ask how old I am and told me she is 65. Here we are together.

She told everyone who came into the class area, “Amerika desu” and pointed to me. Very soon we had a table full. They made me feel like a celebrity. No one else spoke English including the teacher, but I was able to follow along and even understood some of the teacher’s directions in Japanese. (She said ko ko ka ra a lot to tell us where to start stitching.)

We each picked out a kit - none were the same.  Mine had lining fabric with some writing in English. I wasn’t able to finish the project, a little drawstring bag, in the allotted class time, but I did enough that I will be able to finish it at home.

I hadn’t planned on taking the next class, a little key ring with a fabric insert, but the first class was so fun that I came back in the afternoon. (I have really missed taking classes and the social part of stitching in a group).Three of the morning ladies who were at my table, including the one who helped me, were back so we all sat together again. This project was very quick and I finished it during the class.

The show itself was smaller than I expected (the whole thing, including the vendors and stage area, was held in a gymnasium) and I didn’t see any ribbons or awards, so I don’t think it was a competition.  There were a couple of areas with quilts by the same artist/quilter. One area had a sign that said “Gallery Talk” and gave a time.  I thought, I’ll come back for that.  Then I remembered, I wouldn’t understand what was being said.  Oh, well. Photos of the quilts to the left of the entry area were allowed, but not of the quilts on the right.  I don’t know what the distinction was.  There were only two quilts with selling prices, maybe they were for some type of fund raiser? There were no miniature quilts or crazy quilts.  In the non-photo area there were quite a few of what I would call traditional block pieced quilts. There were several of the hexagon paper pieced kind of quilts (“grandma’s flower garden” type designs) and the little pieces for making those quilts were sold by several of the vendors, so I’m guessing that is popular here. My favorite quilt was this one of the stitching group.  It had a lot of three dimensional appliqued items.

Here are a few more of the quilts I liked and was allowed to take photos of.

The vending area was very different from any US quilt show I’ve been to.  Only one booth had fabric bolts and it was Kanariya, the big store in Sapporo. Many booths had small cut fabric (like fat quarters) and signs that said “Made in USA”.  There were many similar booths with little kits for bags and cutesy things.  The kits contained all the pieces needed already precut.  In the US, I would buy a pattern and my own fabric.  I wonder if the precut kits are because the average recreational stitcher here doesn’t have the space to store all the stash a quilter in the US accumulates.  Maybe it’s easier to have only the little pieces needed and not a lot of extra.

I only purchased a couple of things – a packet of small pieces of Japanese fabrics and a little kit (with all the precut pieces) to make a business card holder.  The kit directions are in Japanese, but I should be able to figure it out.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the show.  After the show I passed through Odori Park which is now full of flowers. Isn’t Hokkaido beautiful?


Margaret said...

How lovely that you were able to go to the Quilt Show. I really admire your courage which obviously transcends language barriers. Great that you could participate in two classes - they are fun aren't they.

Vireya said...

It sounds like a fantastic day, even with the language challenge.