Quilting across Continents
Miyuki Humphries fell in love with quilts in Hawaii. Inspired by the islands’ long history of quilting, she taught herself how to make the symmetric applique patterns and bold, botanical designs that characterise these distinctive quilts. That was 25 years ago. Today, alongside teaching others the secrets of Hawaiian quilts at her Japanese culture school, she specialises in award-winning miniature quilts. We asked her to tell us more.
ECT: What do you love most about quilting?
MH: When I’m making a quilt, I can concentrate without thinking.
ECT: How would you describe your style?
MH: I made hand-sewn Hawaiian quilts for many years, but I recently changed the way I work and started to use a sewing machine to make miniature, landscape quilts.
ECT: One of these won first place in the Miniature Art category at last year’s International Quilt Festival, Houston
MH: Yes, that was really exciting! The quilt, ‘Bath Balloon Fiesta’, shows three hot air balloons over the Royal Crescent in Bath and is based on a photograph I took some years ago. I chose an applique cloth, put that on a base cloth and then quilted the picture with a sewing machine, before finishing the colouring with acrylic paints.
ECT: Why choose Bath as a theme?
MH: That’s a long story… I came to Bath in my twenties to study English and met the man who became my husband. When he died suddenly, four years ago, I realised that I had didn’t have any images that reminded me of the place where we met and of our youth, so I began to make quilts of different scenes around the city. The are four in total – the Balloon Fiesta over the Royal Crescent, the view from the American Museum garden, Pulteney Bridge and the Royal Baths. They are our memories.