Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Embroidery Bridge Between East and West

While in Cambridge, I attended a 3-day class. In all the classes I have attended previously the student’s are working on various Phase pieces or practice designs. In this class, everyone was stitching Embroidery Bridge Between East and West, a special design created for the World Exhibition. During the mornings we attended a lecture by the designer and tutor, Mr Shuji Tamura, President of the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta. During these sessions Tamura-san explained how he came up with the design and what it represented to him. The inspiration came from a design that Tamura-san had traced many years ago, the origins of which he has since forgotten but he said that the design had always spoken to him and he had long since intended to create something from it. Tamura-san explained that the Victorian style urn represents the West and the oriental flowers represent the East. The ornate supports at the top left and right contain the hidden letters ‘E’ and ‘W’. The inspiration for this come from a Japanese art form know as Ashi-de (reed and hand) in which calligraphy is hidden within the painting. The string of spheres suspended from the supports represents the colour preferences of the Japanese and Western ladies that Tamura-san has taught. Japanese ladies, he says, have a preference for the mauve used predominately on the right, where as Western ladies prefer the blue used on the left.

On the first morning we were given a design box chart, a chart that details the colours, threads and stitches used for each element. During the morning lectures, Tamura-san explained some unfamiliar techniques that he had devised specially for this design.

During the class we were given free choice of which order to stitch the elements. In Japanese Embroidery, you begin with the foreground and work the background elements last. Three of the flowers have no other element in front of them so either could be worked first. Each of them contained one of the special techniques that we learned about in the lecture. I aimed to stitch at least some of each of these flowers so that I could attempt the special techniques during the class.

I needn’t have wasted time worrying about the classes, Tamura-san and his assistants - his son, Arata-san and Ishida-san, one of the professional embroiderers from Kurenai-Kai - were wonderful teachers. I really learnt a lot in just 3 days and think that this will help me improve my stitching.

Happy Stitching

1 comment:

Christine said...

What a wonderful experience - thanks again for your blog.