Designer Kaffe Fassett has said he finds much of his inspiration for his palettes and patterns from books on ethnic textiles and his own worldwide travels.
"I follow women in the marketplace to get a look at the pattern on the edge of their skirts or the way they put a flower in their hair," he said in an interview for our Cloth Paper Scissors Studios magazine.
Kaffe is particularly enamored of Swedish wallpaper patterns, ikats from Kazakhstan, and Japanese fabrics. "The Japanese love and respect fabric so much, they'll have a book just on stripes," he says.
Like Kaffe and probably many of you, I'm inspired by what I see on my travels abroad as well as what comes across my desk in the way of gallery art and submissions. Not to mention techniques like batik, kantha stitching, and African stitch resists and kente designs. I have been blown away by the Australians' innovative use of materials, too.
Japanese design is definitely having an influence on the contemporary patchwork trend. You can see it in Kaffe Fassett's patchwork designs as well as Malka Dubrawsky's updated takes on traditional patterns like the log cabin.
There are a lot of great books out on Japanese design, but one that's on my radar right now is Quilting Line + Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts. I'm excited about it because the author, Yoshiko Jinzenji, is an internationally known weaver, dyer, fabric artist, teacher, and quilter, and she brings experience and techniques from all of those disciplines to the 30 projects in this book.
I especially love how she plays with shape, and color on a field of white fabric and stitching. I'm also intrigued by her use of hand stitching and appliqué.
I'll be ready for the light and spare abstract designs of her quilts and home décor projects when Quilting Line + Color comes out in January. But to be sure I have it in hand and ready to go, I'm pre-ordering my copy now. If you're inspired by Japanese designs and quilting techniques, you won't want to miss it, either.