Mrs. Okutomi has made it her life work to depict Japanese churches and Biblical scenes in her patchwork designs. She has spent years perfecting her machine applique stained glass technique and I have shown her vibrant creations many times before on my blog. She will often visit a church and take photos and then design a quilt from her pictures. Most of her creations will be sent to the church as a gift, sometimes she has done commission work. Mrs. Okutomi will be featured in one of Japan's leading patchwork magazines next month.
Mrs. Okutomi felt compelled to make a quilt after she came across a picture in the Japanese Asahi Newspaper showing a rough cross being erected over the ruins of the Kesenuma Baptist Church in Fukushima. The church itself was completely destroyed last year in the tsunami with only the sanctuary altar left where the church had been standing. Church members cleared the sanctuary spot of debris, and from broken timbers lashed a crude cross together over the shattered landscape. A photographer captured the scene as the cross was being erected.
Mrs. Okutomi, using a combination of dyed and patterned fabrics designed her quilt adding a Bible verse from Song of Songs to the top. The Kesenuma Baptist Church name is at the bottom of the quilt.
"Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it."
Sonsg of Songs 8:7
It is my great joy to have Mrs. Okutomi as a friend and sister in Christ. Her quilt will be sent this week to Kesenuma.