Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Books, boxes and maples

Well it's been a productive few weeks since my last post, I've got some nice new pictures to show and I've been thinking about the focus of this blog so a few changes to come.

When I started the blog it was a way of keeping track of my phase pieces and I mainly wrote about techniques and my journey up the phases.  Since I've started the next step of the journey and have been developing my own designs I've continued to post about techniques and the embroidery rather than the design journey.  I'm going to try and expand on the design journey, including details of ideas for designs and how I develop them into working designs, we'll see how it goes.

One of my lovely friends, Michiko, found this fabulous book all about another JE master.  When she was in Japan visiting family she brought back extra copies for us all - thank you Michiko.  If you can get hold of a copy it's well worth it.  The embroidery is incredible. I dislike the new use of the word awesome, it's a word that I think is overused for interesting things but that do not actually fill you with awe, that said, the embroidery in this book is truly AWESOME. 
Front cover.  I'm sorry to say I can't remember the English version of the masters name (I really need to write this stuff down) and all the details in the book are in Japanese, so I can't give you his name.
EDITED - the masters name is Kikuaki Ueda - thank you Kris (and her husband), who found this link with more information.

 Back cover 
It comes with a little booklet with lots of information (all in Japanese).  Michiko says this tells about his work and life.  The book is one of a series which has been produced to celebrate and publicise those Arts in Japan which are getting scarcer.  As far as I know it's only available in Japan, the website of the publisher is on the details below.  Get it if you can.
I've edited these images so if you click on them you'll get a larger version for reading.

The red tassel and pinks embroidery have been mounted on the tops of boxes and delivered to the Gallery at the Wharf where they are now for sale. 
I've started some new designs for smaller boxes.  These are great, they only take a few hours each to stitch so I can move on very quickly.  The top of the box is only 10x4 cm so the embroidery itself can't be very big.  I put two design on each colour of kimono silk and then stitched the pieces together so only had to frame up once.
This works very well, but you do have to match up silk of a similar weight so the tension on them all is the same.  Don't match obi and kimono silk together.
The designs are all very simple, this is a little daisy design. The original idea was to have a domed top to the flower and to cover this with lots of sagara nui (knots).  Once I started looking at fabrics I decided that the black I wanted to use for this wouldn't support that amount of padding.  My second thought was just to fill the shape with sagara, but something about this just disn't seem to gell, so I thought I'd do this like we sometimes do centres on chrysanthemums, fill in some of the background and then put knots over the top.  The yellow silk is JEC 308 and I've included a gold thread in the knots.
The petals are JEC 801, the top few petals are self padded. 
I'm very pleased with this one, it has turned out very well. 
Next a tassel worked in JEC 107 and 633. The top section has self padding but the rest doesn't.  No great design thoughts about this one, the design is a section of one of the very many pictures of tassells and cord designs I've got.  Colours were chosen just by what I had and what I thought would work on the purple silk.
Tassel lines are #4 silver, couched with grey couching. 
Knots and a bit of cord to finish off. 

Now I've had time to live with the Autumn Shell Box piece I've been looking again at the colours and how beautiful they are, so I cut another piece of the fabric and made up a smaller design containing just maple leaves.  I used the same basic pattern of leaves as on the original, but moved them round a bit, as on the original one of the dyed leaves on the fabric is incorporated into the design.  
The design was transferred using chaco paper and the same colours and techniques as on the original.  Some leaves are two tone, some solid colours. 
This all took a fraction of the time of the original.  Under 10 hours of embroidery in this one!! 
 Thank for for reading to the end of this very long post, more updates on the small designs and other new designs soon. 
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