Monday, 18 February 2008

A Trio of Treasures

Jane is a fellow Japanese embroidery student whose stitching I admire greatly. When I first met Jane, three years ago, she was stitching the Phase III design that I am currently working on, Venerable Friends. As I looked around the work room, there were stitchers who were further along their Journey than Jane, but some of the techniques they were learning seemed beyond any level I ever hoped to attain when I was taking the first step on my journey. The beautiful woven technique that Jane was meticulously stitching was as high a goal as I dared set myself back then.

Jane is currently working on a challenge design called Bamboo Circle. Each of the four bamboo leaves is decorated differently. One of them is covered with tiny treasures. You can read about treasures and their symbolism on John Marshals site.
The cloud that I am currently stitching is covered with a design of interlocking circles known as Shippo that is a sort of shorthand for seven treasures. The method technique used here is called cut paper preparation (uwamoyo-nuki-nui). The design is cut from paper which is stitched onto the silk foundation. The stitching is then worked over the paper templates which serves as padding as well as a giving a neat edge to the shapes.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

This is the first time that I have used this technique and I somewhat naively thought that it would be relatively simple. In fact I found it rather difficult to begin with. The paper templates do give a crisp edge to the shape but only if you place the stitch correctly and it is very easy to catch the weft layer foundation stitches with your tekibori when you are stroking the flat silk. As with most techniques, I did improved with a little practice but it takes a lot of concentration.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Jane has progressed through the phases more rapidly than I have and this March at our class she will begin Phase IX. The design Jane has chosen to stitch is called Treasure Ship; it is a symbol of good tidings and blessings to come.

I hope all these treasures bring good tidings and blessings to Jane on the next stage of her journey.

I am about to start on a journey of a different kind. Later tonight I am going to Marrakesh with my partner and my parents for a week. I don't expect to be on-line while we are there, so my next blog will most likely be at the end of next week.

Until then, Happy Stitching


Doris said...

amazing stitch!

KV said...

Happy travels, Carol-Anne!

Kathy V in NM

Jeanne said...

What an interesting technique. I can see why it would be challenging!

Enjoy Marrakesh!

Jane said...

CA, thank you for your kind words, very unexpected, but lovely to hear none the less. I'm glad you are enjoying Venerable Friends, I loved stitiching mine.
Enjoy the holiday and I'll see you soon.

Mary Corbet said...

This is incredible! I love the "template" things. It looks so sharp and crisp!

Kathy R said...

Your blog is just so interesting to read concerning Japanese embroidery. Thank you for sharing your talent.

I have been tagged to share 7 ramdom things about myself and then pass the tag on to 7 other people. If you will play I'm passing it on to you. Check my blog for the rules.

God Bless,

Anonymous said...

I am itching to hear about your last Japanese Embroidery class. Hope you have something to show us soon.

I just ordered my first japanese embroidery frame -- a lovely maple one available locally to me. I can't wait to receive it and start finally upon my japanese embroidery adventures. I will be doing Hanazume as my Phase 1.