Monday, 3 February 2014

Review of Indigo & Sarasa by Shizuko Kuroha

In her final post from the recent Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, Carin wrote about Shizuko Kuroha and shared a link to more information about her work
I was very taken by the incredible work of this lady and when I found she has a book available, well, you can guess!  It was a little trepidation that I ordered it from France, from the Quiltmania website. They are the publishers of the book and the price was considerably less than on some other websites I looked at.  However, you may like to look at this link as there are several pages from the book shown.
I need not have worried, the book arrived more quickly than if it had come from up the road.
The initial impression I had of this book (which is written in both French and English in this edition) is that it would be something of a "coffee table book" full of wonderful illustrations of Mrs Kuroha's work to inspire the reader.  There are many illustrations, of exquisite quilts made mainly with vintage fabrics and a lot of gorgeous, gently worn indigo, but this book is much more than that.
Mrs Kuroha writes about her journey with quilting and with these fabrics, her way of working and they way her work has influenced her life and her thinking.  A gentle, thought-provoking read.  

She is also incredibly generous with the techniques and patterns she has included in the book, it is like having a private workshop continually on hand.  There are step by step, illustrated instructions for the various techniques Mrs Kuroha uses:  hand piecing, log cabin, chenille, quilting.  There is detailed information about sewing tools and about the various textiles that she uses.
Finally, there are extremely well-illustrated patterns for many of the quilts and smaller items shown in the book, including layouts and full size templates.
Many books on my shelves have a combination of things that attract me and are useful and chapters that I can happily ignore as not appropriate to me.  "Indigo & Sarasa" has nothing that isn't of interest to me (except for the French text but two of my friends in Country Roads Quilters are keen to look at my copy and to read the French, because they can!) and I thank Carin for introducing me to Shizuko Kuroha.

ISBN:  978-2-916182-53-7
First published, in Japanese, 2005


  1. Your book review is very timely as I have been considering whether to buy this title? I have just come across the work of this quilter in recent research on Japanese quilting, boro and sashiko work - was looking for inspiration for two projects, a boro cloth and my Indigo log cabin quilt which I have begun to stitch in sashiko circles

  2. What an excellent find! In my opinion a LOT more of the books published in Japanese should be translated into a language that can be understood by many nationalities. Ms Kuroha always impresses me that she is PRESENT; she is at shows full time, and instead of signing books or selling goods she is demonstrating and promoting quilting.
    Thank you Ms Kuroha, and thank you Lis for your blog post.

  3. I certainly agree with Queenie on this. Ms Kuroha was there demonstrating all hours every day and surrounded by engaged quilters and fans.(And this is NOT the only show where she does this)! Thanks for this post.

  4. I have that book in Japanese and autograghed as I bought it directly from Ms Kuroha. I have also been to her shop/studio which was a fantastic privilege. She is one of my quilting heroines!

  5. Ps, this is a good site for Japanes books.
    They are in Japanese but the pictures are very good and easy to follow. I have bought from them a few times and the sales have gone smoothly.

  6. That looks gorgeous, and some great projects!

  7. I agree with the comments above, and echo your review too! I purchased the book (as well as some indigo!) in Kuroha's studio and it is a treasure.

  8. Great review. Must buy my copy.


I really appreciate your lovely comments, ideas and opinions, they make my day. Thank you for visiting Piece'n'Peace,
hugs, Lis x