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Release: Aug. 25, 2000

UI Museum of Art will show quilts from Iowa's sister state in Japan Sept. 2-Dec. 17

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will show 14 colorful handmade quilts from Yamanashi Prefecture, Iowa's sister state in Japan, Sept. 2-Dec. 17.

The exhibition, "Sharing Traditions: Quilts from Yamanashi," celebrates the 40th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Iowa and Yamanashi. The exhibition was organized by Emily J.G. Vermillion, the museum's curator of education.

The exhibition reveals an influence from Iowa quilting traditions on a group of women from Yamanashi Prefecture that has been one of the many results of the cultural exchanges between the sister states. This influence can be traced back to 1995, when a quilters' group from Yamanshi visited the Des Moines Area Quilter's Guild through the sister states program. Since then, the group from Yamanashi and the group from Des Moines have established an exchange program and a close friendship.

The Yamanashi quilts in "Sharing Traditions" combine American patterns with a Japanese aesthetic and craftsmanship. Many of them use antique kimono fabrics together with contemporary textiles and designs.

"I first saw a selection of these colorful and very appealing quilts in 1999, when I was one of 16 Iowans participating in the Women's Study Seminar in Japan," Vermillion explained. "The purpose of the seminar was to examine the ways in which women have helped to shape the culture of Japan, primarily in education and the arts. I thought the quilts were a perfect example of women sharing artistic and cultural traditions."

The cultural exchange continues this year, as 15 people from Des Moines will attend a quilt show in Yokohama, Japan, in November. Included in that show will be a huge quilt made by 70 Iowans and 70 Yamanashi quilters honoring the 40-year Iowa-Yamanashi friendship. Also planning to attend the Yokohama event are Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and First Lady Christie Vilsack.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of the museum.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at