projects > Banners, Blankets, Nobori

Too Late
Too Late
Quilt (machine-pieced, hand-quilted, hand-appliquéd)
August 2020

One of the casualties of my family's assimilation is our connection to the Japanese language.

My grandparents never learned to speak English and in childhood my father effectively forgot how to speak Japanese. This "forgetting" was encouraged by his parents: assimilation was for his own benefit and protection.

Today, my brothers and I speak only a smattering of Japanese. Most of what we know was learned not over the dinner table but in college. We took out student loans to learn our grandparents' language too late to talk to them.

I continue to study Japanese but I know I will always be a beginner unless I take the time to live in Japan. Even then, I'm not convinced that I'll ever be able to read and write proficiently.

Like my practice of pursuing the Japanese language, this quilt is both an encouragement (it reads, "It's never too late"), and an act of futility (a writing exercise in the slowest medium possible: hand-sewn appliqué).