For the last 25 years or so, I have been studying Japanese embroidery...but not really.
I began taking Japanese embroidery classes when I lived in Japan when I was in my 20s. I've written about that experience before here and here.
Since then, I have had a push-pull relationship with the art form, taking lots of side trips and adventures that have led me far from my coursework.
I have had the most wonderful teacher in Tonie Evans, you may have met her on this post when she taught at our Guild last Spring. Through no fault of hers, I have been a fair-weather student, at best.
Well...I've set about to change all that by setting an intention to finally complete all nine Phases of Japanese Embroidery instruction so that I can attend Phase X in Fall 2015 at the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta. As further incentive, I'm thrilled that one of my very oldest Blogging Needle Friends, Carol-Ann from Threads Across the Web, is also planning to be in Atlanta next Fall for class so we'll finally get to meet! CA was one of the first commenters on my blog in 2006 so we go back quite some time.
The piece I am currently working on is Phase IX, Sake Box, and it consists of a sake box, sake ladle and lots of mums. The picture below is not the exact piece I'm doing, but it's close. You can see the sake box in the bottom center and the "ladle" to its left.
Currently, I am working on laying a foundation of twisted threads on the sake ladle. The foundation is satin-stitched which makes for fairly long stitches covering the shape...
In order to keep them in place, temporary holding stitches are laid 1cm apart and tacked down each cm, piercing the threads to keep them from shifting...
If there will be additional embroidery stitched on top of the foundation, aka "superimposed", then temporary holding would hold the stitches in place while the design can be transferred on top of the threads.
Below is a great picture showing the tissue transfer to the left, the tissue removed in the middle showing the transfer lines, and the actual superimposed goldwork embroidery to the right...
I've already completed the foundation work and design transfer for the sake box, now I am working on those same steps for the sake ladle.
The sake ladle won't have any superimposed work on the orange interior of the ladle so I am firmly stitching those foundation stitches in place using a technique called short-stitch holding.
In the picture below you can see where I am making 8mm stitches on a diagonal, going over the temporary holding stitches, to secure each foundation thread so they don't move. Short-stitch holding can take a good bit of time but it is worth it.
Next, I'll be transferring the design for the goldwork vines that go on the outside of the ladle.
Now I'm off to stitch my two hours. I'm still working on other things but Japanese embroidery will most likely show up here more frequently over the next year or so.
And if it doesn't, feel free to check up on me to make sure I'm still on task!! I do have a big habit of getting distracted...
P.S. You can see my prior completed Japanese embroidery pieces on this post here.
P.P.S. You can see my BNF Carol-Ann's foundation work as well on her blog post here.