In my humble opinion, Yoshiko Jinzenji is one of the most fabulous quilt makers and creative people alive today.
I am a little embarassed to admit that when I went to Japan for the International Shibori Symposium in 2005, I did not recognize most of the people that were scheduled to teach classes, or who were panelists. Now, I look back and feel so honored to have learnedrothem! It was certainly lucky that my ignorance did not prevent me from being a student in Yoshiko’s class. We had an all day class that incorporated quilting and patchwork techniques. It was the first time I had ever used a freehand quilting foot on a machine…I fell in love with them that day.
Yoshiko was a gracious and intelligent teacher. Through her interpreter she taught us several methods of creating patterns using stitches, as well as shared with us some small, luscious pieces of fabric that she had dyed using her unique methods using bamboo. Similar to many of her finished quilts, the fabric she gave us was imbued with a simple radiance and were in shades of cream.
When asked what influences her quilts, Yoshiko responded, ” I think the main influence is the essence of the paths that my life took. For some reason, people really need to deeply contemplate something in order for their character to develop. In my life, quilting was something in my everyday life and it became one of the subjects that I studied.”
Though Yoshiko is primarily a quilt artist, her design skills are inspiring and can be translated to fashion, painting, ceramics, graphic design and more. She has written two books. Her older book, Quilt Artistry: Inspired Designs From the East, has the Lampung Embroidered Pillows we started in class ( I never finish anything in a class. I’m having too much fun in the process of it all!) while the new book , Quilting Line and Color, seems a bit more colorful with its quilts. It is destined to be a new favorite book to be used for visual inspiration!