Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Flower Circle – Mushiro-nui and Sugabiki

When I was planning to work the Flower Circle entirely in gold work, I thought that I would do the large circular centres in maze pattern couching. On my last day in Japan I visited an exhibition of work by the tutors and students of Kurenia-kia. I saw some techniques that I had not seen before and wanted to try to replicate some of these in my design. Unfortunately, photography was not permitted so I had to rely on my notes, my memory and a postcard of the exhibition. One of the techniques was a variation on mushiro-nui (woven effect). It is not terribly different from the version taught by the JEC but I thought it was very pretty.

© Shizuka Kusano/Carol-Anne Conway

I don’t know why it did not immediately occur to me that I could have worked this version in more or less that same way that I have been taught. Instead, on my first attempt, I filled the entire circle with a flat silk foundation using two strands and then struggled to work the holding stitches.

© Shizuka Kusano/Carol-Anne Conway

When I stitched the second flower centre I made two stitches, then left room for two stitches, stitched two more, etc. I then worked the holding stitches over these foundation stitches before filling in the gaps and working the holding stitches over those. It was much simpler that the first flower.

© Shizuka Kusano/Carol-Anne Conway

I had planned from the outset to work the petals of these flowers in sugabiki (fuzzy effect). I had seen this done in metallic threads on Embroidery Sculpture and thought it very effective. Sugabiki is usually worked in every other weft valley but I stitched #1 gold into every valley so that the effect would be more gold than purple. It is normal to use a holding stitch on any stitch 1 cm or longer but I did not want to disturb the solid sheen so have omitted the holding stitches.

© Shizuka Kusano/Carol-Anne Conway

Finally, I outlined each petal and the centre of each flower. On the gold flower I used JEC twisted gold. On the shell gold flower I wanted a matching outline so I twisted together two strands of shell gold.

© Shizuka Kusano/Carol-Anne Conway

Happy Stitching


Rachel said...

One of the interesting things about embroidery is working out how to create effects you like, isn''t it!

LilyStitch said...

Love that effect! The #1 gold you're using on the petals really brings it forward. Were you able to pick up any other metallics over at T?