Monday, 14 December 2009

JE challenge - finished

Well, it has been a busy couple of stitching days. I met up with some stitching friends from our new class here in the NW on Saturday, it's really nice to see them taking their first steps and they are doing great work. I worked on Kusudama on Saturday and then on Sunday I completed my little Japanese embroidery challenge piece. Well, I thought I completed it. I posted a photo of it on my page over on stitching fingers, but I wasn't completely happy with it as it didn't seem finished. This is the piece as it was on Sunday before I went to work. After I got back from work on Sunday evening I went back to my original sources of inspiration for turning this ... ... into an embroidered version of this ... This is one of the inro in the Victoria & Albert Museum collection that I had checked out when doing research into this piece (click on the image to visit the collection pages at the museum). As soon as I went back to the originals I realised what was missing, the bead and netsuke. Today while doing other things some ideas were ticking over in the back of my mind and this evening I completed the piece. I decided to embroider the netsuke as a large plum blossom. I padded it with two layers of padding cotton and then covered it with flat silk. I didn't want to introduce another colour into the piece so I used the same colour as for the inside of the inro. This red is darker than we would normally use under gold thread. However it gave the gold a really nice rich effect. And after the red silk was complete I covered it with twisted gold. I've used twisted gold before on small motifs, but on this larger one it looked just fabulous. I'll have to use this again! The full impact of the gold is lost in the photograph, it's such a shame I can't find some way of making photographs of Japanese embroidery look as good on photos as in the flesh (as it were). Anyone who has seen originals of traditional Japanese embroidery will know what I mean.
Shiny! The plum is a triple blossom and after I'd held down the twisted gold foundation (the light yellow lines - you can't see these on the original), I twisted up some karayori threads which were couched to form the pattern of petals.
The next trick was to figure out how to get the cord joined to the netsuke. I couldn't sink it or somehow put it under the stitching because it is a real cord and is quite thick.
In the end I bound a bit of twisted gold round the cut end of the braid and couched it down right next to the embroidery, which seemed to work.
I also added an embroidered bead in black silk and used the twisted gold again for the accent. This is how we depict plum buds in Japanese embroidery so I thought it would add a nice touch.
So here we are, it's really finished this time and I am very pleased with how it has turned out.
Edited - 20th December - thank you all for your comments. I have listed this piece in my Etsy shop and on the On-line Saachi gallery.


The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I think this is gorgeous, Jane. I love the real little boxes and your stitched interpretation is magnificent.

coral-seas said...

I've like your design all along, Jane. I think using a real kumihmo cord is inspired and literally adds another dimension to the embroidery. I thought that your first 'finished' pic was wonderful but now that you have added the netsuke and bead I can see that the design needed them. I love the twisted gold over a larger area; I can't wait to try that on something.

It has been a joy to watch your design process and a delight to see the finished article. I know that it will be even better 'in the flesh', JE always is, so I look forward to seeing it.

Elmsley Rose said...


Stephanie Faith said...

I looked for your email but couldn't find one and my membership to the uk handmade ning group is I thought I would answer your question here about making your photos clearer, you need a higher dpi (dots per inch); usually 72 dpi for the net and 150 for printing, but you can use higher. Also use Macro photographing which is for close ups. Hope this helps! :)

Plays with Needles said...

You should be very proud Jane. It's LOVELY!

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