International fiber artist Noriko Endo creates outstanding quilts inspired by nature that feature her signature technique, which she terms Confetti Naturescapes. Using myriad scraps of colorful toothpick sized fabrics like an oil painting palette, she creates landscapes on cloth that replicate the feel of Impressionist paintings. To achieve this effect she layers thousands of confetti-like fabric on batting, covers with tulle, then with a long arm machine quilts the entire piece. Any one quilt can take her up to two to three months to create.
Ms. Endo also adds painted details--mushrooms and chipmunks, for example. Her cherry blossom series feature numerous petals all cut and painted by hand. In addition, she machine appliques and machine embroiders, sometimes using luminescent fibers and metallic threads, most recently adding line drawings of deer and other woodland creatures in white thread. Tree trunks are embroidered on their edges to give accent and texture. She employs zig-zag free motion stitches to add depth, light, and shadows on the trunks. Sometimes she adds barely noticeable bits of shocking pink, purple or turquoise scraps to achieve an oil painting effect. Flowers and butterflies from her garden, spider webs, peonies seen in Kyoto gardens, reflections on water, fallen leaves, insects, birds, and small forest animals all represent the beauty and splendor of nature that she so admires.
Ms. Endo's quilts are mostly of landscapes and, for the most part, depict trees and woods, although recently she has tried different outdoor scenes. "I love to walk in the woods. I look for a place chased by the light, where pretty pink flowers are blooming, small mushrooms are smiling, and wild birds are calling their partners. I feel nature keeps some of her secrets hidden. I can find inspiration everywhere and then narrow down the ideas to the most compelling," Ms. Endo wrote in her book, Confetti Naturescapes: Quilting Impressionist Landscapes. Most of her quilts are large as she wants viewers to feel they are in the midst of woods looking at trees. The titles of her quilts--"Sylvan Ambience," "Autumn Splendor," "Lakeside Solace," "Entering Eden," "Silent Sentinals" ( trees in a wood)--reflect the beauty and serenity she finds in nature. She writes on her website, "A deep feeling for trees is what inspires me. The play of light through the leaves, the changing colors through the seasons, and the strength of mature trunks all intrigue me."
Renowned American quilter Paula Nadelstern has high praise for Ms. Endo. "As an artist, Noriko Endo never takes a false step. Each composition, seamed from an abundance of detail and nuance, reveals new complexities, seducing the viewer to stay a long time and witness her miraculous, sleight of hand dexterity which turns minute slivers of fabric into masterful color compositions."
Ms. Endo's interest in nature began on walks with her father as a child. "My work has been influenced by constantly watching nature and enjoying walks in the woods," Endo notes in her book. She was first inspired to work with small pieces of fabric as she watched her mother knitting sweaters for her family from odd balls of yarn, then began making quilts from fabric left over from making clothes for her own children.
Born and raised in Japan, Ms. Endo currently resides in Chiba, Japan, outside of Tokyo, and has a studio in Tokyo. She has traveled extensively and uses scenes from all over the world in her work, including Wyoming, California, Ohio, New England, New Zealand and Japan. She finds inspiration everywhere in nature and takes thousands of photos of outdoor scenes, selecting the best elements on which to focus rather than replicating entire scenes, using them to suggest the important artistic elements of light and shadow, space, texture and color. "I use my camera as a sketch book and take photos wherever I go." She explains in her book that she does not sketch nature scenes but scatters the confetti onto fabric intuitively, allowing her designs to evolve.
Ms. Endo's quilts have been displayed at the UK Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England; the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky; in a one-woman show in Tokyo; and at the Art du Quilt Expo in France, among other exhibits. She has won numerous awards for her work in Japan and in the U.S., including several for Best of Show at the Quilt National. Her work is currently on view and for sale at the ArtQuilt Gallery in New York City through August 6th. Her work will be shown in Verona, Italy March 6-11, 2012 and she will conduct classes there as well. She has taught classes about her innovative technique throughout the world also, and was a featured guest on Alex Anderson's HGTV show "Simply Quilts." Her book, "Confetti Naturescapes: Quilting Impressionist Landscapes" showcases a variety of her pieces, explains their inspiration and provides detailed instruction on how to achieve her techniques.
For more information on the Noriko Endo, please visit www.norikoendo.com. Ms. Endo’s work can be viewed at The ArtQuilt Gallery, 133 West 25th St., New York City www.artquiltgallerynyc.com. To read about Noriko Endo’s work, please refer to "Confetti Naturescapes: Quilting Impressionist Landscapes" by Noriko Endo published in 2010 by DragonThreads Publishers www.DragonThreads.com. For her exhibit in Italy, please visit www.veronatessile.it and www.associazioneadmaiora.it