Our next featured quilting artist in our Up Close Quilting series is the renowned Japanese quilter Noriko Endo.
Noriko literally paints landscapes with her longarm quilting machine, using thread for colors and stitches for brush strokes.
Her bright and vibrant quilts have appeared in many national exhibits, including Quilt Visions, Quilt National and Quilts Nihon in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Q: Thank you for joining us, Noriko! What attracts you to quilting?
A: I started quilting seriously in 1985 when my children were older. It’s something I started to do because it was so much fun. Even now, as a professional quilter, it’s the fun that keeps me coming back for more. The very simple designs of quilt tops will change to beautiful pieces by adding nice quilting.
Q: Do you still remember what your first quilt looked like?
A: You never forget your first quilt! Mine looked like my grandmother’s flower garden. It was green and white and had lots of flower design prints.
Q: You are known for your remarkable sense of color and using stitches as “brushstrokes.” How did you develop this style?
A: My personal sense of style began when I found lots of scraps of my children’s clothing in storage. I didn’t want them to go to waste so I started to use them in my quilts.
I also attribute a lot of my color sense to my mother. I used to watch her knit clothes using large selections of yarn. That taught me not to be afraid of color, but to embrace it.
Q: Your quilts are truly works of art. What inspires you?
A: My inspiration comes from nature. The beautiful changing color of the autumn leaves, the sun hitting the edge of the tree trunks and the light shining through fresh green leaves. All these things inspire me.
Q: What made you want to purchase an APQS longarm quilting machine? And why do you still use one today?
A: Many years ago, I had a chance to visit APQS and try a long arm machine in the USA. I tried it and loved it right away. I like how smooth it is and how easy it is to work on.
After I purchased my first APQS long arm machine, I started to really enjoy free-motion quilting. I love how the APQS machines allow you to enjoy quilting as you go. You’re literally free!
Q: How did you make the transition from a casual hobby quilter to someone who quilts professionally?
A: Quilting Confetti Naturescapes technique can be challenging at times because the confetti will often move while you’re quilting on top. My APQS machine changed this. I could set my Confetti ready to go on the frame and I didn’t have to worry about it moving around. This made things a lot easier. As a result, I started quilting a lot more and became better and better.
Q: Do you have any tips for people who are about to purchase their own machine? What are the most important things to consider?
A: My advice would be to reach out to experts and other quilters to get their thoughts and recommendations on the machines you are considering. They are the ones who are most familiar with the machines and they’ll be able to provide you with some great tips and insights.
Q: If you had to describe your quilts in one word, what would it be?
A: Using one word is impossible, but two I can do: Confetti Naturescapes.