We feel honored to display quilts at Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival 2019 by quilt artist Cynthia Parry from her collection titled “Tohoku Daishinsai” (Tohoku Disaster).
Some of us have been privileged to hear Cynthia’s story about the creation of these quilts in person. For those who haven’t had that opportunity, we would like to share parts of an article about her quilts in KC Studio Art News.
“The disaster touched many, including Japanese-born, Lenexa-based quilter Cindy Parry. Six months after the tragic event, Parry began work on a fiber art memorial, “Tohoku Daishinsai (Tohoku Disaster).
“The work, which has been exhibited in D.C., Chicago and Minneapolis and on Japan’s NHK TV’s 4th anniversary feature, currently consists of 13 art quilts; it will be a series of 14 when completed.
“Parry was born in Japan. Her family moved to the U.S. soon after, but the artist returns frequently to visit relatives on her mother’s side. When the crisis happened, Parry felt paralyzed by the magnitude and intensity of the tragedy, but found she couldn’t stop watching coverage. She decided to transfer her feelings into her art.
“Pictures started floating in my head,” Parry said. Names for the pieces also came to mind and thus began her project, moving from the first quilt, ‘Magnitude 9.0,’ to the last.
“Parry says she never considered that her pieces would be seen by others — the project began as a cathartic exercise for herself.
“The ‘Tohoku Daishinsai’ quilts are moving and powerful, each singular in style, composition, size and theme. They employ a multitude of techniques, including thread painting, hand water-coloring and printing on fabrics, tearing, crimping, yarn-edging and twisting. Some quilts feature actual headlines and newspaper reports from Japan as well as maps of the islands, photographs Parry herself has taken and images from traditional Japanese art and history. Others display netting with trapped miniature Japanese objects and phrases in English and Japanese.
“The imagery is vivid: waves and currents, flotsam and debris, burning reactors, geologic layers, billowing clouds, ash and embers, citizens overcome. Text additions include statistics and Richter readings and meaningful phrases such as ‘160,000 Displaced’ and ‘Who Do We Trust?’ implying uncertainty in the official reports of reduced threat levels.”
Cynthia is currently the Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma region co-rep for Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). She is also an active member of the Fractured Fabric Society, KAW Valley Quilt Guild of Lawrence, Kansas and a very active maker for the Quilts of Valor.
We know you will appreciate viewing this moving tribute during KCRQF 2019.