This is Venerable Friends, a phase 3 piece by the Japanese Embroidery Centre. I've always loved this piece but had decided I didn't like the original framing, so I took it back to choose a new one and I'm very happy with the new frame.
I've not blogged about this piece as it was completed before I started writing the blog, but it's always been one of my absolute favorites. It was the piece on which I felt I was really starting to get to grips with it all, and I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I think about stitching it.
I know that sounds a bit soppy, but I'd struggled with the earlier phases so much and had worried so much about my stitching and what I would do if I couldn't keep up with the learning mountain we all have to climb on the first leg of our journey through nuido. AND THEN, SUDDENLY, AS IF BY MAGIC, it all clicked into place and the course of my journey was illuminated.
Hmm, sorry, that all went a bit off into cloud cuckoo land for a moment!! Anyway I'm sure that the other Japanese embroiderers out there who read this will recognise this moment (do you, if so when was your Waterloo?). I think it comes to us all at some point, for me it was Venerable Friends, and I can't tell you how much I love this piece. If I had to save one of all my pieces from a fire it would be this one (well after me and the cat!). The others I can stitch again, but the feelings that this one holds for me can never be replaced.
Anyway enough of the bad prose ;-) lets have some more pics of this piece.
This was also the first piece when I started to realise how colours could change a piece. I'd been given my fabric, silks, and box chart and was going through all the instructions making notes on which colours to use for which section and I'd noticed that the colour of the threads which were written on the boxchart were different from the ones I'd been given. When I compared the numbers I decided that I liked some of the other colours better so I asked me tutor if I could us the alternative colour scheme, and being always supportive of her students she agreed.
This lovely colour forms the foundation over which is stitched a higaki pattern in twisted gold. I've always thought what a shame it was to cover it up in the first place it's so shiny.
These are gardening books by the way, the higaki foundation is a pattern which is found in Japanese garden fences.
Below is the foundation safely covered over with tissue paper while the gold higaki pattern is worked over the top. I left the tissue paper in until very last thing in order to protect the flat silk. In the top corner a lovely yellow and gold cloud.
The foundation is worked with a twisted yellow and gold metallic thread. Sooo shiny.
The large chrysanthemum in the centre uses different thicknesses of padding to give it it's shape. The foremost petals have the most, and the padding gets gradually less the further back the petal is.
Shippo foundation. The foundation is worked with twisted thread and the little paper shippo patterns are very carefully tacked over the foundation. These were covered with flat silk in various colours.
Plum blossoms. Lots of padding on these to give both buds and blossoms more shape.
And once more the finished product. If you'd like to see another Venerable Friends in progress visit Threads Across the Web, where you can see Carol-Annes lovely version. This is the other colour version by the way, so you can compare the two.
I'm feeling much better :-), thank you to everyone for your good wishes. Maybe tomorrow I'll try some stitching.