Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Japanese embroidery to the rescue ...

... well maybe not Japanese embroidery, but our merry band of embroiderers. Just back from our last class in Garstang, where we had a lovely time with all the students old and new, did lots of happy dancing and rescued a lady in distress. This was my first class since completing Kusudama (happy dance) - you can just see it here at the front of the classroom. Denise was very kind and did not bring her Kusudama this time round but let me take all the glory. Thank you Denise. Colleen had completed her Bouquet from the heart of Japan (happy dance) and started on the large Hiogi. Well done Colleen. Class, as usual, ran from Thursday to Sunday and on Saturday the ladies below joined us for the two day taster course. Actually there were six ladies on the course, but I couldn't get them all in the photo at once.
One of our students, Michiko, also makes the most beautiful Japanese thimbles, yubinuki. You can see some examples on her stitchin fingers page here. On Friday evening after class she did a little workshop on how to make them.
It was fascinating and much more complex than I had thought. These little thimbles are quite time consuming to make so none of us completed them that night. Michiko went through the whole process with us, the level of precision needed is quite remarkable. If ever you have chance to take a workshop on making these I would recommend it.
Below is my first attempt. As you can see I didn't get much done, but I'll definitely go back and finish it. Watch this space for an update.
At each class we always have a display table with some kind of theme. This time Denise had decided on cherry blossom. Although cherry blossom season is over in Japan, here in the NW they are still flowering. The uchikake on display that you can see in one of the earlier photos also had cherry blossoms on it.
Remember the uchikake, fan, obi, obiage, and hair pins - all these will feature in our story later.
Does anyone out there believe in fate, gods of fortune or good luck, or sheer serendipity? Well whether these things exist or not, something was looking out for a visitor from Japan on Saturday evening.
Nicola the very nice manager from the Crofters Hotel where we hold the class had told us she had a visitor from Japan there on the Saturday, and after being told that we would be there at the same time this visitor has expressed an interest in popping into see us and what we were doing. Now we're always happy to talk to anybody about our passion so of course we said that would be fine. During the day on Saturday I asked Nicola if her visitor had arrived and was told she was at the airport where they were trying to find her luggage!
It turns out that the hotel had an event that evening to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Garstang becoming the worlds first Fairtrade town, Asami san (our visitor) was coming for the celebrations and was going to give a short demonstration of Japanese dancing. We had just sat down to dinner on Saturday evening when Denise was asked if she could go to speak to Asami san. So off she went and few minutes later came back to ask if Michiko could help her out.
One by one we gradually filtered back to the stitching room to find out what was going on. Asami san eventually had to give up on the airport finding her luggage in time for the event and had come to the hotel and then to us to see if there was any way we could help out.
Remarkably Asami san was going to do a dance about cherry blossoms - remember the display from earlier? The uchikake came off the stand, obi, hair pins, fan and obiage from our display were pressed into service. Denise found an obijimie from somewhere, make up was collected from rooms and lent, umbrellas were found and a suitable one chosen, Michiko did a great job helping with obi tying, kimono dressing and some interpreting and a little while later Asami san was dressed and ready to go and give her demonstration.
Given that the uchikake is not supposed to be worn like this, the obi doesn't really go and everything else is kind of cobbled together I think she still looks lovely. These photos were taken after the dance so the obi doesn't look as nice as when first tied but as we had none of the usual supporting sections for it I think it has survived pretty well.
We got to watch the dance which was very interesting and even got a round of applause from the guests for saving the day. Eventually everyone also got to finish their dinner so all was well.
So that was our excitement for the weekend - we still don't know what happened to Asami san's luggage. I do hope it eventually turned up.


blukats said...

This is lovely. I'm glad you are still blogging.

I wish there were classes like this where I am but at least I get to enjoy it virtually! Thank you!

coral-seas said...

First, congratulations to you on surviving your first class as 'Miss'. I hope that you enjoyed it. Also congratulations to Coleen on completing Boguet, it is beautiful. Well done, Coleen.

Wow, what an amazing story! I hope that Asami san's lugauge has turned up but what good fortune that you were all able to help out to that extent.

It sounds like you all had a lovely time. Well, with 4 days stitching, an extra course in thimble making and watching the Japanese dancing, how could you not have a lovely time.

Christa Evans said...

How thrilling to see that wonderful art worn! Thank you so much for sharing your class with us.

Can't wait to hear more aboutuchikake, fan, obi, obiage, and hair pins.

Christa Evans said...

Jane, I've published a post referencing yours on my blog. Please let me know if you prefer I did not and I'll take it down. ce@lilystitch.net

Rachel said...

Great save! a really great end to what sounds like a great few days of stitching!

Christine said...

What a wonderful story, thanks for sharing it. There's a nice yahoo group that makes the Japanese style thimbles, it's at thimble_rings, and is a yahoo group. I recommend it.

Sue said...

Well Miss your first class is done and when speak to some of your students they were all learning a lot. Looks like you had a lovely few days looking forward to seeing your thimble :-) lol Sue XXX
Well done to Coleen it looks amazing can't wait to see how your phase II peace is coming along X

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