Thursday, November 6, 2014

Going Back to China, Part One

Marin Hanson
Curator of Exhibitions

I love going to China. Ever since my first visit there in 1992, I have enjoyed journeying to this complex, fascinating country. Admittedly, after spending a semester there in college in 1994, I didn't return to China for 15 years, but since 2009, I've gone back four times. I love the food, getting to practice my rusty Mandarin, the crazy mix of ancient and new, even the crowds; but most of all, I love the people I've met.

For instance, meet Mr. Yang.

Mr. Yang is the Manager at Shaoxing Master Cultural and Creative Industries, a company that produces art supplies and is looking to get into the quilting supplies market. He organized a commercial quilt exhibition as a part of the huge China Keqiao International Textile Expo and invited us to show some of our antique Education quilts there. (Our Education Collection consists of quilts that have been designated to be able to be shown in non-museum settings, to share with as wide an audience as possible).

Here  I am outside the huge expo hall
in Shaoxing, a city a few hours from Shanghai.

Some of our Education quilts on display.

There were vendors of all kinds, both from China and abroad:

There were full-sized quilts as well as smaller projects, like crib quilts and bags.

Quilting on a longarm machine.

And many other artists participated in the quilt exhibition. It was wonderful to meet quiltmakers from all over Asia and from North America. Here I am with Taiwanese artist, Lin Hsin-Chen, who is also President of the Taiwan Art Quilt Society. Those are her art quilts across the aisle from our antique quilts.


And it's always fun to go halfway around the world to meet people from (relatively speaking) your own back yard. Here I am with Bonnie Browning and Ann Hammel, of the American Quilter's Society:

And Brenda Miller, from Canada, was also a delight to meet. Here she is at her booth for her business, "Among Brenda's Quilts."

Be sure to check out Brenda's in-depth, informative, and entertaining blog post about her experience in China.

It was a pleasure and honor to also meet China's most famous and accomplished quiltmaker, Jin Yuanshan, who was a participant in this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Of Korean ethnic heritage, her works resemble the pojagi patchwork we featured in our 2008 exhibition, "Pojagi: Patchwork and Quilts from Korea." In addition, Japan's Saito Yasuko and Korea's Kim Mi-Sik were there with their beautiful works of art.

L to R: Lin Hsin-Chen (Taiwan), Kim Mi-Sik (Korea), Saito Yasuko (Japan), Brenda Miller (Canada), me, Jin Yuanshan (China), Mr. Yang

It was a wonderful international gathering, all with a focus on quilts -- what could be more fun?!

Tomorrow, I will blog about our partnership with Shaoxing University's College of Fine Arts. We are so excited to collaborate with a Chinese academic institution -- again, all with a focus on quilts!

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