Japan in Berry Thank you!!

Sharon Thomson

Wondering where all the pics are?? Scroll on down to the bottom for the gallery. 

Our Japan in Berry Event held earlier in January was an amazing success. We kept it small by advertising only to our email list and social media followers and was amazed at how many people visited the weekend, offered us quilts to hang and who participated in classes. It was such a buzz to see all the happy faces and hear how much every one appreciated having an event go to after such a quiet year. Despite it being a heat wave and over 39 degrees for two of the days, the sunny weather meant we could hang our quilts outside. This was exciting because we’ve wanted to do that for ages. Watch out Braidwood! No not really – but we will do it again for sure now we know it can happen safely and securely! 

Japan in Berry was an impromptu long weekend of classes and a great and unexpectedly large display of Japanese themed quits, bags, clothing and more all made by friends and clients of Berry Quilt & Co. Shuji and Alison Yamazaki of Wabi-Sabi Designs Australia brought their wonderful stall full of new and vintage Japanese fabric, indigo dying supplies and equipment, kimonos and more. We had a mini Japanese themed book fair outside the shop. Shuji and Alison taught a Japanese Rice Bag Class using vintage fabrics as well as a two day intensive of indigo Dyeing. Jennifer Corkish taught a day of Boro stitching and was our Guest artist in the quilt display and store owner Sharon Thomson taught the cute Olympus Raindrop Bag and an intro to Hitomezashi stitching. The whole event was spread between the Berry Quilt & Co. shop and the Uniting Church across the road. We are so lucky to have that complex nearby! Have a read about how the event came to be here

A thank you message from Sharon: As always with an event like this there are people who go above and beyond to offer their help and time to see it happen. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of them and their contributions deserve to be acknowledged publicly. There are many to mention, have a read and if you see any of these fabulous peeps please pat them on the back! 

Acknowledgements: Firstly to my family who always pick up plenty of jobs! My husband John Thomson lifts, carries, drills, hammers, fixes and transports at the drop of a hat! What would I do without him?? Thank you JT! My Mum Margaret is always working out which things are not done yet and doing them or offering up my Dad John to hammer, nail, drill, invent and lift and carry! They’re always around and always helping! Thanks team Nicko! My kids Milly, Gemma and Bronte sometimes have a bit of a grumble when I ‘ask’ them to do things but pull out their smiles and helpfulness when I really beg – even when outside in 40 degrees! Thanks Guys! My shop staff: Charlotte, Sue, Lisa, Jo and Carol always go above and beyond being smiley, helpful and leaping to do whatever crazy tasks need doing. Thanks for putting up with the heat and crowds team!! The weekend absolutely wouldn’t have ended up what it was without all your support! 

Jennifer Corkish is a fantastic co-collaborator and fellow Japan enthusiast who offered to be the quilt minder, covid marshal and guest artist! Without her and Karen Ellison manning the hall display for two days I would have been in trouble! Likewise Helen Draper and Margaret Nicholls did a sterling job of marshalling etc while Jennifer was teaching. Jennifer Wulff made a brilliant slide show of our 2019 trip to Japan with her images and many from Karen Ellison’s fabulous photos which added so much to the atmosphere of the display and made us all relive great memories and wish we could go straight back to Japan! Thank you so much for that Jen!

Melissa Cooke and grandson Sam helped Charlotte Duncan and my family team set up the exhibition. It is wonderful that Red Berry Quilters’ continue to be stewards of the rescued Berry Public School Quilt show stands. They’ve given them a spruce up and continue to make them available to me and my schemes for which I am always grateful. Jen Hepper always works wonders in organising stand pick up for me. The Gerringong Children’s Medical Research team lent me additional quilt stands when the quilt loans filled up what I had originally planned. We are lucky to have a network in our area that is happy to support each other. My friend Kate Thompson hared down the highway from Sydney to indigo dye and stayed on to help bump out and clean up dye spills. My buddy Skye Thompson who coudn’t come on the weekend of the event but made time after work beforehand to help fold fabric and generally cheer me on. The Berry Uniting Church hire us their lovely hall and facilities and Janet Brentnall always makes it easy & possible!

Shuji and Allison Yamazaki ran fabulous classes, a wonderful stall and smiled and nodded at all my crazy suggestions for the weekend. We didn’t knew how it would go but they were happy to take a punt I’m so glad they were up for it. You are both legends! Irene Huetter and Sharon & Von stepped in to man the Wabi-sabi stall and help with bump-out, sweeping, lifting and carrying! Many hands make light work!

Michelle Darlington and the team at Nourish Cafe next door to the shop, ran a fabulous japense drinks night including some wonderful Japanese cocktails and snacks. I look forward to that happening again! Thanks Michelle for a great night!

We had over 85 quilts, clothes, runners and bags lent for display by some very clever quilters. I was not imagining having an actual ‘quilt show’, I just thought a small display to inspire visitors and class participants would be fun but it turned into quite a diverse and exciting mini -show! Thank you quilt lenders especially Michelle Keen who isnt always local and who made a special effort to bring me 9 amazing large quilts and trusted me to mind them for a month in advance. Lynn Hewitt again travelled to us specially to lend not just her amazingly large japanese sampler quilts but 5 of her fabulous jackets for us to enjoy.

Thanks to Jane MacDonald from Bebe Bold who took time out of her weekend to mail me bag samples, runners and her gorgeous 2021 BOM quilt to display, Hiroe Mogi, who via Ray Dorries made runners, bags and quilts available to show her clever ideas. Ray for driving them down from Sydney with a recent shoulder reconstruction!! Jen Corkish made available many of her amazing stitch projects and raced against time to finish her 2021 teaching quilt Something About Japan! Thanks Jen it was a hit!! Annette Hoskins who was so enthusiastic about the idea and marshalled the Kiama ladies to lend and particpate! Thanks Annette! Carolyn Morrow who came to dye for the weekend and brought quilts to show with her, we appreciated that Carolyn!

We also had quilts by locals who I know well who dug through their finished works and some ladies who I didn’t know before but who I am very glad now to have met! Thank you in no particular order to Helen Draper, Melissa Cooke, Carolyn Collins, Denise Burgess (Lovely to put a face to your name Denise), Pam Luckman (Lovely to meet you too Pam!), Faye Ison, Joanne Pollard, Putch Lyle, Elizabeth Dubbelde and Margaret Nicholls for letting us all see your precious creations!

Everyone start sewing some new Japanese inspired projects and we will be just about ready to have another Japan in Berry maybe in March or May 2022? What do you think Shuji & Alison??

Click on images below to open them up full size and generate a gallery to scroll through.  


We were transported to Japan for three days without leaving home! 

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