“I’ll be working on the quilt designs while I’m here. They may have a lot of gray in them if the weather has any influence,” Sarah Nishiura wrote tongue-in-cheek from Liverpool in England, where she and her family were spending this past summer. So when the finished quilts arrived this fall, I was so excited to see what England had inspired in Sarah.
Sarah said that one of the quilts was inspired by knots and woven lines that has been a longtime interest of hers. I immediately thought of the ornamentations depicting knots that can be found in many old church architectures in English and Anglo-Saxon Stone carvings.
My husband (a British born Chinese from Exeter in deepest, darkest Devon who goes through life dripping with sarcasm) saw it and happily exclaimed “it’s so green like England!”
The green, though, was not by any English horticultural influence, but from a stripy linen pillow in Sarah’s living room in Chicago, which is one of her favorites. She feels that its colors shout out the “1960s”.
The other quilt, Sarah said, was inspired by her two cats, April and Lucca. The browns were inspired by April’s pretty fur, and the pink by Lucca’s cute pink nose.
Sarah said that she designed the quilts when she was traveling in England, but did not settle on the colors until she got home. She said that maybe it was the feeling of being happy to be back at home that made her choose fabrics that are so reflective of her domestic environment.
I often want to write about my travels because I have the opportunity to visit foreign places quite often. But writing about such experiences is so difficult because it involves expressing a vast range of emotions and experiences. It is amazing that artists like Sarah can convey so much of her feelings and observations directly and elegantly through her work. And in these quilts, she makes a very telling point, that the best journey takes you home.