The Suitcase Project – July 6 to November 26, 2022

Japanese Heritage Cooking – Thank you, Suzu and Michael!

The Cortes Island Museum would like to thank Suzu Matsuda and Michael Speier, mother and son team, for all their hard work and expertise they graciously shared with the enthusiastic folks who joined them for a very special afternoon on Sunday, September 18, celebrating Japanese Heritage Cooking.

You can see pictures from the workshop in our Facebook Japanese Heritage Cooking Album.

The Art of Sashiko – with Ayami Stryck – Thank you, Ayami!

The Cortes Island Museum would like to thank Ayami Stryck for sharing her two wonderful workshops on traditional Japanese Sashiko Stitching held in the Museum’s Heritage Garden. And to all the participants – thank you for your enthusiasm!  We would also like to extend a warm thank you to Suzu Matsuda for her contributions of delicious Japanese snacks that were enjoyed by all at both workshops.

You can see pictures from the workshop in our Facebook Sashiko Album.

The Suitcase Project

The Suitcase Project by Kayla Isomura
Cortes Island Museum & Archives
July 6 to November 29, 2022

“If you were going to lose everything—your home, your business, your memories and personal possessions—what would you take outside of things for survival? Or would you focus on your practical needs?”

This is the question photographer Kayla Isomura asks in The Suitcase Project. On loan from the Nikkei National Museum, this mini travelling version of the original exhibition explores – through video, photographs and text – cultural identity and dispossession in the context of Japanese Canadian and Japanese American internment.

In 1942, approximately 23,000 Japanese Canadians and more than 100,000 Japanese Americans living on the west coast were uprooted from their homes and placed in internment camps or incarceration. Isomura, who identifies as a fourth generation – or yonsei – Japanese Canadian, invited those of her generation and the next generation – or gosei – to participate. Subjects for The Suitcase Project were given 24 to 48 hours’ notice to assemble their things, similar to what many Japanese Canadians faced in 1942.

This exhibition highlights why this history is still relevant even now 80 years later. As Isomura writes, “Struggling to understand and see ourselves is one aspect of that, as well as recognizing the ongoing displacement and discrimination other minority groups and people of colour face today.” This exhibition is also an opportunity to reflect on the many current situations of displacement and loss experienced by people both here and abroad. As Isomura writes about her project, “The original idea wasn’t just about what or how people would pack, but also what they are forced to leave behind.”

We invite you to see The Suitcase Project and Another Day Begins From Here, curated by Ayami Stryck and Suzu Matsuda, exhibits that explore historic and current Japanese Canadian culture on Cortes Island.  The exhibition will be on in the main gallery until November 29.

Japanese Heritage Cooking – Workshop with Suzu and Michael – Sunday, September 18

Shiso herb, also known as perilla, beefsteak plant, Chinese basil, or purple mint

Japanese Heritage Cooking with Suzu and Michael 

Sunday, September 18, 2022, 12:30 pm to 3 pm 

Seating is limited – to register email or phone 250-935-6340

Join the Cortes Museum for an afternoon of cultural learning:  Japanese Heritage Cooking with Suzu Matsuda and Michael Speier

This workshop starts at the Cortes Island Museum for a tour of the travelling installation The Suitcase Project, and other community projects that explore local Japanese Canadian identity, displacement, and culture. After the tour, we will take a very short walk to Manson’s Hall and meet in the Manson’s Hall kitchen. We will watch the mother and son team of Suzu and Michael cook up some of their favourite homestyle dishes while sharing the history of Japanese cuisine. You will learn how to build these dishes into your own cooking, taste each dish, and take home the recipes. 

Join us and take your taste buds on a journey! Itadakimasu! 

Suzu Matsuda, with Ayami Stryck, cocurated Another Day Begins From Here, part of The Suitcase Project installation.

Suzu and Michael — Mother & Son Cooks 

This cooking team has been collaborating stove-side for decades as they hail from a super foodie family of Japanese eating enthusiasts. As an example, almost every family story, old or new, includes a memory of what was eaten, regardless of whether that’s relevant to the plot!

Suzu’s Cortes Island Izakaya Menu

  • Handmade tofu demo – seasoned in two yummy ways
  • Miso soup featuring island clams & local kabocha squash
  • Inarizushi “old school” – seasoned rice pockets workshop
  • Spice yuzu kosho cukes, bean threads & spot prawns
  • Yokan jelly and teacake with genmaicha

The Art of Sashiko – with Ayami Stryck – Monday, August 29 and Monday, September 12

Sashiko is a traditional Japanese textile technique – a heartfelt slow art – which strengthens fabric through tiny, multiple stitches. Sashiko repairs fabric to give it a longer life; many people are now learning this beautiful, meditative and practical textile art form.

Ayami Stryck:
I am a Textile Designer-Artist who loves to work with my hands. I am excited to share this beautiful art with you for your new and mending projects.

In this workshop, you will learn a little bit about the history of sashiko, basic sewing techniques, and use traditional Japanese patterns on your own choice of the fabric.

The workshop is limited to 12 people. Call the Museum at 250-935-6340 or email to rwegister.

Ayami Stryck, with Suzu Matsuda,  cocurated Another Day Begins From Here, part of The Suitcase Project installation.

The workshop is free, but donations are appreciated. Ayami will provide workshop kits for $15.
Japanese snacks will be available.

Monday, August 29, 2022
From 10 am t0 1 pm

Second workshop
Monday, September 12, 2022
From 10 am t0 1 pm

The workshop on September 12, 2022, is now filly booked.

Thank you, Ayami, for sharing the art of sashiko with us. 
To see some photo from the workshop, visit our Facebook Album, Sashiko with Ayami.

Sashiko Supply Kit for this workshop: $15

  • 1 x 20 Meter skein White Sashiko Thread (100% cotton)
  • 1 x 20 Meter skein Blue Sashiko Thread (100% cotton)
  • 1 x 1M Red Sashiko Thread (100% cotton)
  • 1 x Sashiko Needle
  • 6 x White linen/rayon fabrics (5”x 5”)
  • 1 x Navy cotton fabric (5”x 5”)
  • 1 x Choice of Yukata cotton fabric (5”x 5”)


Please bring along with you for the following Items if you have it:

  • Ruler
  • Fabric pen or Chaco pencil
  • Thread snips
  • Tracing paper (Chacopy)
  • Your project with favourite fabric

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