I found this concept very difficult; I have always striven to cover the fabric entirely, so much so, that I tend to pack in too many stitches. I had to really discipline myself to achieve this with the first petal and was rather satisfied my stitching especially when Tamura-san nodded his approval* when he viewed it. I’m afraid I allowed this accolade to turn my head, and did not apply myself so carefully to the second petal falling back into my normal stitching pattern. When Tamura-san and his son next viewed my work they commented that I should make the next petal more like the first than the second. I was less satisfied with the second petal already and, upon hearing their appraisal, I promptly removed the stitches.
© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway
Shortly after this Arata-san was demonstrating to another student how to stitch the petals. Several others and myself gathered to watch. My tutor has shown me before how to keep the tension on the silk while stroking it with the tekobari but I don’t think that it really registered - when you start to learn there are so many things to take on board. Watching Arata-san stitch a penny dropped and I returned to my frame eager to try what I had just seen. I found the technique a little awkward and cumbersome at first but immediately I thought I could see an improvement in the flatness and shine of my silk. I will continue to practice and hopefully my stitching will benefit. I stitched 2 more petals before the end of class and on the final viewing for the day, both Tamura-san and Arata-san commented that the petals were an improvement on the one that I had removed.
© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway
* Several times during the day Tamura-san would walk around the class, sometimes with his assistant, to observe each persons progress. As he walked around I could occasionally hear him make observations or suggestions. The first 2 or 3 times Tamura-san stopped at my frame, he looked intently at my work and moved on without comment. During lunch I mentioned to another student that I found this a little disconcerting but she explained that no comment meant that was satisfied with my progress. Over the course of three days, I found that if I looked up during his visit, he would nod if my work were satisfactory. If he thought something could be improved upon, he would explain how I could achieve that and when he thought I had done something well, he would say so.