Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Japanese Bead Embroidery, Phase III

A few weeks ago at a Japanese Beading class I began Phase III, Poppy Pouch. The design comes in two colour ways, white with blue poppies or black with red poppies. I am making the white version because I like that one best and also to have a change from the black beads of Calm Flow.

Much of the bag is covered with rows of couched beads. With all the hours I spent couching beads on Calm Flow I thought that I had learnt this. On Calm Flow the rows of beads drift together or apart in gentle waves and any remaining spaces are filled with random beading. Once the guidelines are stitched over there is no way of telling if the lines are positioned 'correctly' or not, as long as the curves are smooth and the rows touching. On Poppy Pouch all the couched beads are in parallel lines.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I thought that this would be straightforward but I soon realised that couching perfectly straight rows is more difficult than it appears. Any wiggle shows up like a sore thumb and is amplified by subsequent rows. The same thing applies if the rows are not absolutely parallel. I found with Calm Flow that if was unhappy with the curve of one row I could adjust the next row to correct it. With the parallel lines, correcting the next row only accentuates the problem.

The poppies themselves introduce some new techniques, such as padding; I thought they were the lesson for Phase III. I now realise that I still had more to learn about couching.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

With both Japanese Embroidery and Japanese Bead Embroidery the Phases are carefully structured. At Phase I you learn the fundamental techniques. In Phase II builds on those techniques and introduces some new ones, as so on with each subsequent Phase. With most things I have done in life I have always wanted to jump straight in at the deep end; run before learning to crawl. With JE and JEB I have been content to learn each stage before moving onto the next. On many of the Phase designs, the technique being taught is repeated over and over. It can seem monotonous at times but this repetition affords ample opportunity to practice and improve before moving on to the next challenge.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I have another lesson on Saturday; I think I might be ready to move onto padding.

Happy Stitching


Jane said...

I can't see any 'wiggles', all looks pretty straight to me.
Hope you enjoyed your class.


Plays with Needles said...

From black to white! I KNOW you are having a wonderful time...is Matsukawa-san teaching you??

Sue said...

Looking good to me kid and can't wait to see the finished Poppy, back to Calm flow for me Sue XX