Eiko Okano’s Delectable World

Eiko Okano’s Delectable World

Eiko Okano's Delectable World

Some people document their daily experiences with journal entries, photo snapshots, or social media posts. Eiko Okano chronicles everyday life with cloth depictions of her meals. Her stylized illustrations are spontaneous and loose. Despite their impressionistic qualities, however,her fish look freshly caught,her vegetables appear recently picked,her bowls of rice and soup seem to be steaming.

Using playful materials and techniques, she translates the beauty of food into “delicious” quilts.

Welcome to Eiko Okano’s Delectable World.

About

Works in the Exhibition

Works in the Exhibition
It’s a Beautiful Day –Volume 7

Eiko Okano
“It’s a Beautiful Day – Volume 7”
2005
Gift of the artist, 2012.038.0008

Sea bream, both raw and cooked, is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It is considered a particularly lucky dish at New Year’s because its name, tai, is also part of the word for “auspicious and joyous.”

Log Cabin—Courthouse Steps variation

Eiko Okano
“Log Cabin—Courthouse Steps variation”
1992
Gift of Tadanobu Seto, 2001.006.0001

“Delectable” sometimes refers to the charming or appealing nature of an item. Does Okano’s interpretation of the Log Cabin design appeal to you? She used more than 10,000 pieces of fabric to create these unusually small blocks.

My Favorite Things

Eiko Okano
“My Favorite Things”
1995
Gift of the artist, 2012.038.0001

Some of Okano’s pieces resemble nineteenth-century Crazy quilts. By layering fabrics and applying three-dimensional embellishments and decorative overstitching, Okano transports this classic American and English style to the present day.

It’s a Beautiful Day – Volume 6

Eiko Okano
“It’s a Beautiful Day – Volume 6”
2004
Gift of the artist, 2012.038.0002

Overlapping circles drawn with metallic ribbon, sheer fabric, and buttons create the impression of effervescent champagne bubbles. The effect is enhanced by tiny embroidered French knots and a fabric printed to mimic tiny shibori (tie-dyed) dots.

Time for Supper

Eiko Okano
“Time for Supper”
2005
Gift of the artist, 2012.038.0003

“Time for Supper” features some of Okano’s favorite Japanese dishes, including the center block’s “simmered red snapper in sweetened soy sauce.” On a yellow-and-white checked background, you may recognize maki, a form of sushi in which rice and other ingredients are shaped into a roll, wrapped with seaweed, and cut into slices.

Delicious Quilt – Salsa, etc.

Eiko Okano
“Delicious Quilt – Salsa, etc.”
1998
Gift of the artist, 2012.038.0006

Okano frequently includes words in her quilts, in both Japanese and English. Recipes are one of her favorite forms of text, as seen here in sets of instructions for making salads and fresh vegetable dishes.

It’s a Beautiful Day – Volume 3

Eiko Okano
“It’s a Beautiful Day – Volume 3”
1998
Gift of the artist, 2012.038.0007

As a way to honor the traditional Japanese garment, Okano frequently uses a kimono silhouette as the basis for her quilts. What shapes, other than rectangles, have you seen used for quilts?

Pyramid

Eiko Okano
“Pyramid”
1993
Gift of the artist, 2017.081.0001

Okano cut apart and reassembled antique American quilt blocks to create portions of this quilt. She also inserted some of her signature design elements: shiny satins, traditional Japanese prints, and embroidered black lines. Like layered desserts in parfait glasses, scattered triangles stand out in this topsy-turvy field. Cherries, anyone?

Delicious and Round

Eiko Okano
“Delicious and Round”
1998
Gift of the artist, 2017.081.0002

A grid of edibles is set within a background pulsing with energy. White buttons create momentary on a field of meandering, bouncing, vibrating rick-rack. The contrast between the quilt’s center and frame creates the impression of two different planes—foreground and background.

Works in the Exhibition

Featured Media

Featured Media
Featured Media

About the Artist

About the Artist
About the Artist

Eiko Okano has been a leading quilt artist in Japan since the 1980s. After learning patchwork from preeminent quiltmaker Chuck Nohara, she founded the quilt school, “Basket,” where she currently teaches regularly.

In 1988, she received the Grand Prix Award from the magazine Watashi no Heya in their 100th Issue Special. In 1994, she was selected for the “20 Japanese Quilts” feature in the Asahi Newspaper. And in 1999, she was featured in a 30-minute NHK program, “Oshyare Kobo.”

Since 1999, Okano-san has exhibited every year at the prestigious Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival and has shown her quilts across Japan as well as internationally. This is her first solo exhibition at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.

Event Date
Friday, February 9, 2018 to Thursday, June 28, 2018