Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Chrysanthemum - 3

On her site Needle ‘n Thread, Mary Corbet recently had a stash give away competition. Leaving a tip in a comment was all you needed to do to qualify for the draw. It took me several days to think of a tip and then I forgot to leave it in her comments. Never mind, I have a tip ready and waiting if I need one in future. The question was "What do you do when you stitch (or before or after you stitch), that helps you get the job done with better results?" This set me thinking about my start up ritual.

I don’t have a dedicated stitching area, so my work area is set up and put away for each session. (This is my Japanese Embroidery; most other embroidery is done in my lap or on a small frame on the settee.) I do not dismantle my stand unless we need more space (when the family come for Christmas) or when I take it with me to class, I have found a spot to store it when not in use. First I move the stand to my favourite spot in front of the patio window where I get maximum light. The framed embroidery is stored in a carry case to protect it from dust etc; this lies across the stand. The stand has a narrow table across the back. On here I place a roll containing couching threads, metallics and padding cotton and a box containing the tools that I use most frequently. From this box I take my tekobari (stroking iron) and Japanese snips and place them on the side of the frame. Next I take my needle felt and any silks I need from the box I store them in and place them on the side. The other ‘thing’ I keep on the frame while I work is an origami box to keep all the off cuts of thread in. Most other Japanese Embroiderers will arrange their work area in a similar way. It is not only to keep things tidy; it ensures that the equipment you need is immediately to hand.

When my work area is arranged, I clean my glasses and Eschenbachs (magnifiers that clip onto my glasses). I’ve come to realise that this ritual is not only about preparing my work area, it is about preparing myself for stitching; it has become rather like a tea ceremony, ritualistic. On the rare occasion that I leave things set up over night because I know I’ll be stitching the following day, when I sit down to work, I’m not settled and it takes me longer to get into my stitching.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Finally, I am able to get back to Venerable Friends. It feels a little like an old friend that I have neglected for a long time. I hope it will be how it is with good friends; we’ll pick up where we left off and carry on as if it were only yesterday.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your explanation of your work area. Japanese embroidery is something I have long been interested in......I got as far as buying a book on it. Seeing how you set it all up makes me realise the committment involved but I also found it very interesting.

The white stitching; is that padding before the final stitching?

I don't have a blog but reading yours always makes my day :-)

Mary Corbet said...

Wow - this was fun to read. Thanks!! I do love hearing how other people set up their work, and what kind of "ritual" they go through before stitching. And I love your set-up, with the stand and the little shelf area behind it!

I have not tried any formal Japanese embroidery, though I have several books on the subject and I integrate some of the stitching techniques into my surface embroidery. What kind of fabric are you using, by the way? I'm completely twitterpated by the smoothness of it, and the fact that it has such a "hard" taut look - no puckers, completely flat and clean. I can achieve a similar look with linen on the right frame, but your fabric seems to have more of a sheen to it and it looks less fiber-ish than linen.

Candi said...

Wow you're so organized with it! I should try it. Thank you for the comment on my blog. This is the biggest challange but I'm determined to do it. Thank goodness we only smoked outdoors so I don't have to worry about the house being smelly! lol Thanks too for the support:)