Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Japanese Embroidery Frames

Good news, we have a new supplier of JE hardwood frames in the UK.

You can buy directly from the website here.  I worked with Dave through the prototype stages and am using one of his frames for my new piece so know they are good to use.  Check out the site for more information and prices. (I've updated the link, should be working now)



Friday, 3 June 2011

Shizuka Kusano Japanese Embroidery Exhibition

All photos in this post were taken by me, designs copyright of Shizuka Kusano

Well, we went to Edinburgh to see the exhibition and we had a fabulous time. It took us 4.5 hours to get there and the same to get home so a very long day but worth every minute. Kusano san was charming and kind and she and her students welcomed us with open arms, answering our endless questions and enquiries. Mrs Tarahara, wife of the Japanese Consul General in Edinburgh, was sporting a beautiful obi embroidered by Kusano san and helped very much by doing a fine job of interpreting for us.

I was moved beyond words by some of the work and feel proud and privileged that I got to see the first exhibition of Kusano sans work outside of Japan. I hope this is not the last time we will see her in Europe and if you ever get the chance to visit an exhibition of her work take it.

This is the link to Kusano sans website - with some very nice pictures, and this is the link to the article on the official opening of the exhibition from the Edinburgh Reporter. More lovely pictures.
AND.... we were allowed to take pictures, here is just a small selection of the 100 or more I took during our visit.
Mrs Tarahara's beautiful obi.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Monster Rocks

Due to a slight mis-hearing incident this lovely design from the Japanese Embroidery Center is known to our group as Monster Rocks. It's actually called Autumn Flowers Amongst the Rocks. This is another of the pieces embroidered by one of our advanced students, this time it is Sue Ebbs who deserves the credit for the beautiful work. Enjoy

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Japanese embroidery exhibition in Edinburgh

Shizuka Kusano, author of The Fine Art of the Kimono is holding a two day exhibition in Edinburgh. Click on the image below to download the PDF.
Kusano san will be there during the exhibition (I don't have exact times), as will some of her students. This will be a fabulous chance to see in real life what most of us have only seen in her books. See you there??

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Video from JEC

The Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta have just uploaded this promotional video to Youtube

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Shokko Flower

Since Kurenai-kai was set up by the late Master Saito many beautiful designs have been designed and developed by him and successive generations of the artists and designers at the centre. I am lucky enough to have a number of the books they have published and spend many hours just looking at all the beautiful pictures. However, no matter how good the photograph nothing can quite capture the beauty of the metallic and silk threads as seen in real life. Shokko Flower is a piece I've only ever seen in books until Wendy brought her version with her to class a couple of weeks ago. While not as big as Flower Cart this is another stunning piece of work from one of our very talented embroiderers. Thank you Wendy for allowing me to share with with you all.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Advanced Embroidery

The week before last Japanese Embroidery UK ran one of their twice yearly classes which I attended as a student. I go to these classes once a year, it's nice to spend the time reflecting on my own embroidery and to get help and advice from my Sensei and other advanced embroiderers. Normally classes last 5 days, this time however we had an extra weekend for tutors and advanced embroiderers.
This was a wonderful opportunity to sit and discuss new design ideas, look at lots of pictures, and to admire all the work that my embroidery friends have produced since I saw them last.
I have more pictures to share of all the work they have been doing but here is one to drool over.
Flower Cart, embroidered by Wendy Weir. This piece is huge, it's about 3ft long.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Japan Tsumani

As with many natural disasters sometimes it is difficult to express in words how these things affect us and our friends and family. I am happy to say that my friends and families of friends in Japan seem to have escaped with their lives which makes them (and me) very lucky indeed. If you would like to help in a small way the Red Cross have set up an appeal - of course you can donate to other causes instead if you would like. Sadly all to many to choose from.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Antique Textile Fair

Japanese Embroidery UK will be exhibiting at the Antique Textile Fair in Manchester on 6th March. For those of you who are interested in Kimono and Japanese textiles, Sheila, from here, will be attending will a stand overflowing with beautiful kimono for sale. The fair is run by The Textile Society and is a must for enthusiasts interested in buying antique and vintage costumes and textiles to collect, wear or discover. The selection is vast with 130 stands from, the UK, Europe and worldwide, selling Oriental & Eastern European costumes & textiles; English costumes & textiles, fans, lace and linens as well as plenty of vintage clothes & textiles.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Harikuyo - Festival of Broken Needles

The Festival of Broken Needles, harikuyo, has taken place in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples all over Japan on February 8th for hundreds of years. While memorial services are more usually held for the spirits of the dead, there is an old Shinto belief that inanimate objects, as well as living beings, have a soul and spirit. The animists believe that to simply discard a tool that has served you well is disrespectful would anger the object's soul. Tailors, embroiderers and other needle workers gather their worn and broken needles from the previous year and take them to the temple. Prayers of respect and thanks giving are offered, and the needles are pushed into slabs of tofu or other soft substances to keep them safe and to prevent their sharp points doing any harm before they are taken to their final resting place. By showing respect and offering prayers it is hoped that the power and energy of the needle will pass to the owner and make them a better stitcher.

Stitchin fingers are having an event to celebrate Harikuyo where lots of embroiderers and textile workers are uploading pictures to celebrate the day. Why not check them out, and while you're doing that take a moment to clean or think about your needles (or other tools) which have served you well over the last year.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Chrysanthemum obi

I was sent these photos from Sheila of Kimono Magic. It was amongst the wonderful kimono and obi spotted at an event she attended to celebrate Japans national dress. I was going to save them for the next post, but it is so unspeakably beautiful that I couldn't wait to share it with you.
Follow the links on the photos to see more from the event.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The beauty of kimono (and obi)

This is the first in what I plan to be a series of posts showing photos of kimono and obi old and new. The come from various places on the web and have been used with the owners permission. No long disscussions on how these are being worn or what kind of kimono they are. Just lots of pictures to celebrate The Art of the Kimono. Pictures are linked back to the original source, click on them to see more. First - something old and something new (well acually the other way round, but you get the idea).