Friday, 29 October 2010

Kinsai Revisitied

The second workshop that I attended in September was a second kinsai class with Midori-san. This time we were doing the gold leaf work on Double Cherry Blossom Fan, a complimentary design to the Drooping Cherry Tree Fan that I did earlier in the year. The first was a two day workshop, this design was a one day workshop as there is less gold leaf work on it. First, Midori-san screen printed the design for the embroidery onto our fabric, which had been applied to foam board with 505 glue. As before, we began by cutting out the sticky back plastic masks. The masks for this design are less complicated so it took less time to prepare them. We soon had the first masks in place and began to apply blue paste paint with a stippling brush. I had remembered that the pigment in this paste is very strong and took my time building up the colour little by little. I liked the result much more than my first attempt with this technique. We then removed the first masks and put the second ones in place. We used a pallet to apply silver and gold paint to the gaps in the mask. Again, I had learnt from my previous experience and made sure that the edges of the mask were well pressed down so the paste would not bleed under it. That mask was removed and the final one put in place for the last step, applying the flakes of gold and silver leaf. Although I remembered the importance of working quickly for this technique, and I though I did work quickly, I had the same problems with the glue drying very rapidly and my sprinkles did not all stick to the silk. All in all, I think I did rather better than with the first class. I don't know if that was because this was a simpler design or because I had learnt from my first class. In some ways I would have liked to do this design first and had a little experience to bring to the more complex design. I still have the embroidery to do. This is Midori-san's finished fan. Of the two fans, I like this one best so hope that I will enjoy the embroidery more when I get to it. Happy Stitching.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Flower Pounding

Despite a busy schedule, I attended two workshops during September. The first, arranged by the Oxford Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, was 'Flower Pounding' with Linda Rudkin. Earlier in the year Linda had given a talk to the branch on 'Colours from Nature'. I’d found the talk fascinating and had been looking forward to the workshop but as the day approached, I was so busy that I nearly didn’t go. In the end, I decided that if would do me some good to have a 'play' day so I went along.

I think this is the prettiest workshop that I have ever been to. Everyone had raided their own, and their neighbours’ gardens, for a good supply of plant material; the tables were covered in multicoloured flowers and foliage.

The process of Flower Pounding is relatively simple but Linda passed on all the tips and tricks that she has discovered that give the best results and soon we were merrily pounding our petals and leaves.

In the morning we sampled our materials to see which specimens worked best and in the afternoon we used what we had learned to make a small composition.

Linda also showed us how a method of flower trapping.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and was glad that I had decided to go.

Happy Stitching.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A Little Bit of Not Much

I can't believe that it has been over a month since my last blog. I've been busy with something that has left me very little time for embroidery or for blogging about the little bit that I have done and then I have been on holiday. I did take some embroidery away with me but we did so much while away that I didn't even look at it. I'll try to find time to tell you about the wonderful week we had in Italy but until then, here is a quick update on a couple of the things that I have managed to do.

At the Stitch and Creative Craft Show last month, I bought a few beads to make a couple more necklaces.

For the first I chose a grey glass disc with a foil center for the accent bead, some Chinese crystal beads and rhinestone rondelle spacers to compliment it and some seed beads. I threaded one crystal, a rondelle, a second crystal and a few seed beads onto a length of tiger wire. I threaded the same combination, but fewer seed beads onto a second length of tiger wire then threaded both pieces of wire through a rondelle, the accent bead, then another rondelle. Onto each length of wire I then threaded a series of seed beads and crystal/rondelle/crystal sequences and finally added a toggle clasp.

I liked the necklace very much but it was a little too long and the two 'tassels' didn't hang nicely so I decided to remake it. This time I threaded the 'tassels' onto head pins that I attached to the tiger wire threaded through the accent beads and used a slightly different, shorter bead combination. This version is an improvement on the first but the 'tassels' are still a little stiff. I think this is because I have made things too tight. I may take it apart and try again when I have some time.

For the second necklace I selected some green oval glass beads with rose and foil details, Chinese crystal beads and silver spacer beads. I made a number of sections by threading first a silver spacer, then an oval bead, then a second spacer, onto an eye pin. I cut the pin to length and made a loop on the end.

I also made a number of sections in the same way using crystals instead of ovals.

I linked the sections together alternating between ovals and crystals as I made them. When the chain was the desired length, I added a toggle clasp.

I found the sections fiddly to to make and remade many of them several times but I am rather pleased with the finished necklace.

Happy Stitching