Sunday, 11 October 2009

Kusudama and JE challenge

Well, the plan for the last post went out the window, so here is a catch up. JE CHALLENGE - I decided to use the plum fan for the challenge design. I feel a bit sorry for the Japanese plum, for years it was the practically the national flower of Japan then along came the cherry with its flashy ways and the plum was relegated to second place. :-( ;-) I drew up the inro, shrank the fan to size and put them together to come up with the first draft of the design. I was pretty happy with this but even with the cord I felt there was not enough movement. I did some reading on inro and discovered that they are made in sections so I thought if I showed the piece as open or partly open, that would add more movement.
I traced the outline and cut off the top section of the inro. I then played around with the two pieces of paper until I had decided on positions and pasted them into place, then traced over the top of both sections to get the next version of the design.
If you followed the link to the V & A website on my previous post you will have seen that inro come in all different types and styles. This is going to be worked on a deep green silk and embroidered in gold and white, I am intending to use a fair bit of padding to give the inro shape. This piece is not large and its scale means that the cord is very narrow so I decided to use a real braid and couch it to the fabric instead of embroidering one.
It's a while since I did any Japanese braiding (kumihimo), so I got out my books and bobbins and decided which braid I would do.
The first plan was to make a 16 bobbin braid, so I wound the silk onto the bobbins and made a start.
I really like this braid, particularly the contrasts in the twist, but after I'd worked a section I decided it was too big for the scale of the design. I went back to some pictures of inro and the cords on them were all quite simple and were sometimes knotted into decorative shapes. I went back to a 8 bobbin braid and worked it with a random colour scheme.
This is a hollow braid so will be very easy to couch and to twist or knot into decorative shapes. I have made enough of the braid that it can run down the edge of the inro, as it would on a real one, this means it'll double as the padding and I can embroider over the top.
So that is it so far, meanwhile on KUSUDAMA ...
The gold chrysanthemum is completed.
I've embroidered some camellia leaves.
The stripy camellia is half done.
The two tone camellia (also known as the 'aghhhhhh this technique is really difficult' camellia), is done, well I just have the centre to complete. I'm not entirely happy with this one, but it's better than it was, so it's staying in.
The solid camellia, came out and then went back in again. The picture above shows the shell powder lines which were used to guide the couching of the edging thread.
Short stitch holding is used all over this flower, so I left the temporary holding threads in to use as a guide for the stitches, and once the short stitch holding was done I them out and completed the centre of the flower. So that is it for Kusudama at the moment, I've done some work on the small chrysanthemums but no pictures to show yet.
When I was printing some of my pictures I took a close up of the centre of the camellia so I could have a reference for the knots which were worked with a thread of gold included. I thought this made an interesting picture as you can also see the gold running through the fabric, so thought I'd share.

1 comment:

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

The camellias are beautiful and the close up photo of the French knots with the gold thread included fascinating. I'm going to have to try that!

I am impressed with the inro design you came up with. Opening the lid is a great way to make the design more interesting. Can't wait to see what happens next!

Yes, hand work can be as enthralling as any soap opera. Stitch faster!

Seriously, thanks for sharing the design and stitch process.

Jane, settling in on the couch with popcorn here in Chilly Hollow

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