View all Events

Cultural Workshop Series: Seasonal Textiles with Judilee Fitzhugh

This is a workshop series with 4 sessions. Session dates are: 1/25, 2/8, 2/22, & 3/15.

Leap into the new year with Japan-inspired textile projects! Portland Japanese Garden is partnering with textile artisan Judilee Fitzhugh to provide workshops that will have its participants make charming pieces ranging from rabbit bags in honor of the Year of the Rabbit to leaf-printed notebooks.

Each workshop will run from 9:30am-4:00pm, which includes 6 hours of instruction and a 30-minute lunch break. Participation is limited to 20 students. Workshops are open to students of all levels of sewing abilities.

All tools and materials are included in the workshop fee. Coffee, tea, water, and light snacks will be served. Students should bring their own lunch and a water bottle. Students may bring a small sewing kit if desired.

[Session 1 of 4] Pieced and Stitched Rabbit Bags 
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 / 9:30am – 4:00pm

2023 is the year of the rabbit. According to folklore, people born under this zodiac sign are talented, admired, and have fine taste. Relax and enjoy the rhythmic dance of needle and thread as we use the meditative art of hand-stitching to construct a Japanese-inspired bag celebrating the New Year. In this class, one can draw inspiration from the Japanese traditional craft of omiyage, darling and whimsical gifts crafted from scraps of beautiful fabric. Participants will use new and vintage fabrics and embroidery to decorate a charming drawstring bag with a rabbit (usagi in Japanese) design. The finished bag will measure about 6”x9” and be suitable for gift-giving or to hold precious objects.

[Session 2 of 4] Boro Mending
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 / 9:30am – 4:00pm

“Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.” (G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World).

The term boro describes profusely stitched and mended Japanese textiles that receive an extended life with an abundance of functional but beautiful handwork. In this class, attendees will piece, patch, appliqué, and stitch a small cloth suitable for a table mat or personal tool bag. Alternatively, students may bring an item to mend: denim jeans or jacket, moth-eaten wool, threadbare cotton. Students will learn a variety of embellishing stitches to breathe new life into well-loved items.

[Session 3 of 4]: Layered and Stitched Koi Painting
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 / 9:30am – 4:00pm

Members and visitors love to visit Portland Japanese Garden’s koi that swim under the Zig Zag bridge or in the Lower Pond. Koi symbolize love and friendship in Japan because the word “koi” is a homonym for the Japanese word that means “affection” or “love.” Capture one of our beloved koi by “painting” with layers of fabric and a variety of hand embroidery stitches in this meditative workshop. Students will leave class with an enchanting postcard-sized koi of their very own.

[Session 4 of 4] Leaf-Printed Paper Book
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 / 9:30am – 4:00pm

Celebrate the Garden’s beautiful foliage by making a leaf-printed book to take notes or share secrets. Attendees will use contact-printed papers dyed with real leaves along with a “Secret Belgian” binding technique to construct a 4 x 4” book with customized decorative stitching along the spine. Students are welcome to bring their own precious papers to use for accents. No previous bookbinding experience is required.

About Judilee Fitzhugh

Judilee Fitzhugh is a textile artisan who specializes in natural plant dyes and couture sewing. A tour of duty in Japan with the U.S. Navy led to a profound Japanese influence and a lifelong affection for indigo and plant fibers. She gained her Certificate in Craft at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2002 and taught in the BFA and Studio School programs until the school’s closure in 2019. Her finely crafted work combines natural objects with vintage fabric remnants, hand weaving, and surface design to portray a single moment in history.


Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center

The Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center was designed to be the cultural, educational, and architectural hub of the new Cultural Village. “With a new classroom, library, and performance space, the Learning Center provides an open and welcoming space where visitors can learn more about the culture that gave us the Japanese garden art form,”