We created a new gallery/forum, so that we will be able to share, discuss, and exchange thoughts here.
This fabric is called Monmuji, silk fabric with no pattern, with color dye. As you can see, the theme is "blue sky that has no boundary above the cloud."
What sort of techniques will you come up with? If you already saw the Summer 2012 Nuido journal cover, don't be disturbed by it!
This technique is called braided cord effect. The color is changing from red flat silk to gold metallic thread. To create natural gradation, we need to carefully "braid" these two colors. Right thread is twisted with red and gold and left thread is plain gold.
Color changing result of previous Braided Cord technique post. It is a challenging task to stitch it with flow as silk and metallic thread are quite different materials.
We like to experiment by using different types of thread. Tomorrow, we will be stitching with flat metallic thread which we rarely use. Probably just fill in the area and couch them to make it sit on the fabric.
Here's the result of applying flat gold and silver on the project we are working on. (Please refer to the post on December 11th) Silver sits well on fabric, but gold was stiff that it made some bumps. We may have to couch down to make it settle. We'll leave it to the last!
Today is the 1st day of Advanced Class. And there were various kind of fabrics displayed on the table. As JEC workshop need to select a fabric for the next design, it is a good chance. Class participants seemed that they were tempted!
We found a right fabric for the next workshop design!
This is a silk fabric woven with real silver. We happened to discover this fabric in the drawer which we bought several years ago. As you may already know, real silver changes its color over time. It is almost like light gold now, but it really gives a gorgeous atmosphere.
Can't wait to stitch on this!
We will be showing the progress in the future.
Couple of cherry blossoms were stitched on the fabric we introduced earlier. Since this fabric is woven with real silver, its color will turn into light gold. This design will change its impression over time... in nice way we hope...
Playing with colors now... What a joy for being able to stitch even for a few hours!
In Japanese embroidery, we twist our own thread. To make this particular thread, we need to use two strands of flat silk.
Many people say, "oh it's a lot of work", but hand twisted threads really project an individual's personality and apply inexplicable taste to the design. Our late master used to say, "hands are the exit of spirit."
Today, I tried to fill in with #3 real gold thread using couching technique inside of the orange diagonal layer.
For this case, we used koma (spools), used as a pair or singly for laying down non-stitchable thread when couching. We need to keep experimenting to find the just techniques and colors. Sigh...
It seemed me that combination of orange color and gold metallic thread gives rich yet youthful spring atmosphere to the whole design.
One of the important tools in Nuido is scissors. Nigiri-basami, Japanese scissors have no finger holes. They are used by simply squeezing them. It is felt that this speeds up the stitching significantly. They have narrow blades so that threads can be clipped closely. Although nigiri-basami is the best choice, small, sharp-pointed embroidery scissors may be substituted.
For more information, please refer to Spring 2012 Nuido journal as one of the Nuido members wrote article about Nigiri-basami.
For more closeup pictures, please visit link below.
This colorful premade bumpy twist thread (Katayori) will add dimension to the design. Several silk colors and a metallic thread are used upon twisting. I will use it for outline of branch, trunk etc. Can't wait to see the result!
Even at night, we will be able to stitch with lamp box. Although some stitchers try to avoid working with flat silk since it requires natural light for better result. Recommended for goldwork, couching, guidelines etc. If your deadline is close, this is a must tool!
Line techniques is used to express fine and consistent linear figures. This technique is called Line of staggered diagonals.
It seems simple, but in order to achieve the smoothness, it required high skill and concentration.
It's good idea not to pick up your phone while you are doing this!
As you may already know, color scheming is exciting yet difficult task to do. Thanks to master Iwao Saito, Shinsaku Saito-san, Shuji Tamura-san for teaching us (next generation) the basics of Japanese embroidery. I may not be able to pick colors like them, although I would like to get closer to their stage.
Each color plays its important role, so we need to focus and think deeply about the combination.
Let us keep developing our skills.
After selecting colors, we will transfer the design and frame up the fabric. It takes quite some time to adjust to the right tightness, however this is one of the important procedures to produce better piece. This is obi (sash for kimono) to be stitched at JEC workshop, very excited!
Since this obi fabric needs tighter stretch when framing, double lacing has done after the regular lacing. This will also prevent from wrinkles. Framing the fabric is just as important as stitching.
This is in progress snapshot of design created for 2011 Nuido World Exhibition special class held in Adelaide, Australia.
JEC is now getting ready for 2013 Melbourne class which will be held next week.
Another portion of previous design. Separated layer is used for the petals.
Padding cotton is applied underneath the laying stitches to express the volume of cord.
This is a snapshot of the embroidery we are working on at workshop. Selecting colors and applying delicate techniques are quite challenging, but we are enjoying every moment of it. It is like a meditation while we are stitching and time flies so quickly.
Greeting from workshop. We are people obsessed with beauty of threads. We are happy as long as we are stitching.
As you can see in this picture, we are taking on a challenge to express the dimension and movement by using traditional colors. It is challenging technique wise, but more than anything else, tremendous patience and concentration is required. Frankly that is my theme. Indeed, it is worth devoting my entire life.
This is an update from JEC workshop. The design we are working on is called International Gagaku (Traditional Japanese Dance) This is the refined design of "Torikabuto" on page 54 of Japanese Embroidery Book IV. It has the motifs of international architects which is quite unique.
Color scheming is quite challenging as they have to be traditional. We can't get to the right colors unless we try our hardest. This is a master piece and we have to be diligent to get to that standard.
After we select colors, we apply padding: couched (PC, refer to page 87 of textbook) with padding cotton to create volume.
Nevertheless the padding will be hidden under the silk, we still need to stitch with care so that the surface of the silk will be nice and smooth.
Padding can never be the main character, but is certainly the important supporting role of Japanese embroidery.
For more information about books, please visit below link:
We are outlining the motif with Light Honey Gold - #4 using couching technique.
We have been experimenting several metallic threads, but this Honey Gold is the best fit with this color scheme.
Aligning the couching stitches perpendicularly is not so sweet though!
There are constant struggles, but we truly love the effect.
We love the effect of new thread; Real Lacquer with Sunago (Gold Dust) 011. These threads give a traditional atmosphere to the whole design.
In the process of thread making, lacquer liquid is mixed with dye and painted on the Japanese paper which is smoothed by persimmon juice, and then dried in a special room.
There are plain or sunago (gold dust) expression.
Collaborating with Kurenai-kai Japan, we are working on a new project now. Hopefully we will introduce the details very soon. I haven't sat straight on tatami mat for a while... Despite of different environment, it is a great pleasure to work with them.
When stitching, natural light is your best partner as it will indicate the true color for silk threads.
We use handmade needles and scissors as they will provide speed and momentum.
We do not talk while we are stitching as it will distract yourself and others.
"It is important to create En (縁) or environment to create something beautiful." This is what late master, Iwao Saito used to say.
A staff from JEC was able to work on a new project for two weeks at Kurenai-kai workshop. The head of the workshop taught us several new expressions, thank you! They let us stitch even during the exhibition.
Interpreting the real tail feather to Japanese embroidery expression is quite challenging. Not only the skills, but we need to study the original painting and peacock very closely!
Greetings! Spring has come to our workshop.
This closeup snapshot is from last project. Experimenting the Real Lacquer threads with Sunago (gold dust).
They are used for the border of diamond, tiny hanabishi (flower) and outline of Kikko (hexagon)
We really like the result!
We used Real Lacquer with Sunago (Gold Dust) 038 for the last project, International Gagaku. We thought the color was too bright, but it gave a nice harmony with other traditional silk colors. Perhaps, that is because all lacquer threads are made out of typical Japanese colors.
Another area of stitched design, International Gagaku. You may be able to understand why the title contains "international" as there are traditional Japanese motifs and well known achitectures around the world.
Additionally, gold leaf is applied for windows of castle (United Kingdom) etc.
We are contantly seeking for new ideas and deepening of traditional techniques.
And you may be able to guess this famous achitecture!
Light honey gold and gold colored silk are stitched for its outline. Also gold leaf is applied to add dimension.
And this is a snapshot of the finished project, International Gagaku.
We are please to see that color scheme of traditional Japanese colors were successful.
We assume this is common to all Japanese embroidery stitchers, but the completed piece will become one's biggest treasure just like your own child! Maybe because you pour all of your efforts and soul into it.