Saturday, March 21, 2015

Loving Indigo

As we still hadn't been able to get in touch with the earth-moving guy, and we have things to do in Melbourne next week, we packed up and headed back to town.

A stop-off in Ballan on the way gave me the chance to see a wonderful quilt show, "Loving Indigo: The world of Shigeko Asada". There wasn't much information on who Shigeko Asada was. Her quilts feature indigo-dyed traditional Japanese fabrics, and are full of symbols and memories of her life. The final couple were very sad; one full of memories of her husband of over 50 years, who died in March 2005, which she stitched in hospital while undergoing chemotherapy, and her final quilt before she died later that year, about which she said, "After embroidering symbols of happiness and good fortune, I set aside my needle."

The exhibition is for one weekend only, with the quilts returning to Japan on Monday. I am so glad I saw it.

A glimpse of the exhibition:

As you can see, many of the quilts are large. As well as being pieced, they are covered in sashiko-style stitching:
The text in the round medallion is a Buddhist saying, "I am content with what I have - he who is content with his lot will always be at peace".

Mrs Asada's final quilts:
On the left, "The Heart Sutra - in sadness", memories of her husband. On the right, "A Pair of Cranes Bring Good Fortune".

Here are close-up views of a few of the quilts:
"The smell of indigo is the scent of Mother - a woman's joy, a woman's sadness."

From the catalogue, "Pieces of indigo cloth which have lived with other women are now quietly gathered here. From grandmothers in the distant past they were handed down unchanged."

It was an incredibly moving exhibition.


  1. Oh thank you so much for sharing this amazing exhibition of a woman's life in quilts. It is truly lovely....hugs, Julierose

  2. Thank you for showing the exhibition, I am so sorry I missed it. Hoped it would be on for another few days. I bought back from Japan indigo and taupe fabrics, must do something with them.

  3. How special, Vireya - would have loved to have seen it! Thanks for the photos.

  4. I agree Vireya it was a very interesting and different exhibition and well worth the trip to Ballan

  5. Thank you for sharing, what a fabulous show. Love the indigo and how it is used, great quilts.

  6. What an amazing exhibition...thank you for sharing those wonderful photos and what you learned about the artist and her inspiration for her quilts.