Friday, 25 September 2009

Japanese Embroidery Challenge

Over on Stitchin fingers we have a group dedicated to traditional Japanese embroidery, this small but growing group of stitchers contains people at all levels of their studies of Japanese embroidery, some who haven't started yet, and some who are just interested. We compare notes, support each other in our work, and generally just chat about lots of things related to Japanese embroidery. A while ago one of our members brought up the topic of designing our own pieces, after lots of discussion and emails flitting around the world we came up with the idea of creating a Japanese embroidery challenge, we would provide the basic design and then anyone wanting to take part could interpret the design in their own way. In this way we hoped to give participants an insight into the design process, and have fun on the way. All this is a preamble to start blogging my process on the challenge. The challenge came up with very simple designs, three fan papers decorated with traditional motifs. It's been a long process to come up with some ideas of how to interpret these designs for me. I thought I would just work one of the papers, rather than a combination of all three, but I didn't want just to embroider it 'flat' as it were. Fans and fan papers are a used a lot in Japanese design and they are often shown with just the paper or fan and not as part of a larger piece of art, but I wanted to add a bit of a twist to the design to make it mine. I have been concentrating so hard on preparing for teacher class and then working on Kusudama that I haven't really had much RAM to spare for this piece and every time I thought about it I wasn't getting any inspiration. Then I visited Japan Crafts for no particular reason, and saw this lovely fabric depicting Japanese inro and that was it, I got my inspiration. I would stitch an inro decorated with one of the fan papers. I sent for a fat quarter of the fabric to use as a basic template, so now to refine ideas - watch this space.

The V&A site has more information on inro, and if anyone would like to join us over on Stitchin fingers we'd be very happy to welcome you, still plenty of time to join in with the challenge!

Kusudama is still on the go, look out for a post on camellias after the weekend, happy stitching.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Japanese Embroidery, slow cloth - the hands are the exit of the spirit

A couple of months ago, well three!, I was asked to do an interview for the Feeling Stitchy group, what with one thing and another I've only just got round to sending the information off (sorry Carina).
One of the questions they posed was on how I perceived my work. I wondered how to answer this question but then remembered a post by Elaine over on Red Thread Studio where I first came across the term slow cloth.
There have been many posts and discussions on a number of blogs on the term 'slow cloth' since then, and possibly before, but re-visiting the post reminded me of how it echos both my thoughts and feelings on Japanese embroidery and the phrase 'The hands are the exit of the spirit' coined by the late Master Saito, so I thought it worth sharing. Check out the full post at the above link.

'Slow Cloth has the possibility of joy in the process. In other words, the journey matters as much as the destination.'

'Slow Cloth offers the quality of meditation or contemplation in the process.'

'Slow Cloth involves skill and has the possibility of mastery.'

'Slow Cloth honors its teachers and lineage even in its most contemporary expressions.'

'It's in the eye of the beholder, yes, but it's in our nature to reach for beauty and create it where we can.'

'Slow Cloth is expressive of individuals and/or cultures. The human creative force is reflected and evident in the work.'

Copyright of all designs here belongs to JEC

Monday, 14 September 2009

Kusudama, the journey struggles on

Well a busy couple of weeks have gone by, work and an exhibition at the GMEX have taken up what would have otherwise been stitching time. I have completed one of the main camellias, but don't have a picture to share - I am not happy with the twist of the thread, it isn't consistent enough to be right, this is probably something to do with the fact that I started it during my phase 10 class, but then there was a gap before I could go back to complete it. I just couldn't get the twist to match the one I'd done in class. In hindsight it might have been better to take it all out and start again, but I wanted to keep the twist that I'd made under the guidance of Kazumi for reference. Anyway it has been in and out too many times so now to do it again, so I am going to have to live with it. I think once the short stitch holding is in it won't be as obvious, but for the moment I don't want to share!! On the other hand, the golden chrysanthemum is completed and looks fabulous if I do say so myself. It has been difficult to take a good photo with the gold thread on gold fabric, so much bounce from the various light sources, I'll post another one of the whole thing when I get a good pic. The flower was first padded with cotton thread, then a layer of orange silk, and completed with #1 gold. Last weekend Sue, Carol-Anne, Denise and I had an exhibition of Japanese embroidery at the Stitch and creative crafts show at the GMEX. It was very successful and we had lots of visitors. This time we were also joined by Rachel and Jennifer, two of our newer local students, who came along to help demonstrate and talk to our visitors. Thank you to them all and to our visitors who were, as always, lovely. We had lots of interest in our courses and are hoping to have a full class in October. If you'd like details, let me know and I can email information over.
Carol-Anne demonstrating for some of our visitors
PS - quick update early Thursday morning - the camellia came out! More soon.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...