Friday, May 21, 2010

Japanese Embroidery

I am filled to the brim! I spent the last four days studying Japanese embroidery. Look at the great teaching aids we had--detailed photo presentations that could be scrolled through over and over.Here is our teacher, Karyn L. Plater, getting ready to give the Morning Talk. We had this lovely sunny apartment for our classroom. Each day began with a "Morning Talk" about a topic of interest. Since the new project was a design featuring Koi, one morning she talked about the history and meanings of these special fish. Other topics have related to things Japanese, embroidery or the spiritual development of the embroiderer. Generally they were accompanied by beautiful pictures displayed on that huge screen.This is the new Koi design, designed by our teacher, Karyn L. Plater. I'm not stitching this one but it was interesting to watch the others who are doing it work on it. All of the Japanese embroidery classes I've been in have had students at different levels doing different pieces. As the new students are taught, the older students hear the review, even if they are working on their own projects. I love (and need) this constant reinforcement.Here the teacher is conferring with Ruth, who is instrumental in getting our Chicago classes going and organizing our "First Thursday" Japanese embroidery stitching sessions at the Hyde Park Art Center. Ruth is working on Phases III and IV. (Japanese embroidery is taught with ten "phase" pieces. I'm doing Phase I.)

Below is my piece showing each day's progress. You can tell the weather by the varying light (the pictures were all taken with the natural light from the east--the apartment overlooked Lake Michigan). Monday was rainy, Wednesday sunny, etc. So, the above is my starting point. On Monday I stitched the long leaf in the middle.
On Tuesday I worked on the "pink" or carnation--the orange flower in the center. I did two petals. I also worked on the orange striped cord near the bottom. I had stitched some of this years ago in my first class and ripped it out because I didn't like it at all. I'm much happier with my stitching this time.Below is my final picture. I added more stitching on the blue flower.On Thursday morning, I practiced making twisted threads properly for the blue flower--the threads I had made on my own a couple of months ago were not tightly enough twisted. I learned to compensate for that in stitching on the blue flower, but I wanted to try twisting the threads again and make sure I had a properly twisted thread for comparison purposes for the next few months. I also made a twisted thread to make knots and I worked on making consistent Japanese knots, on the side edge of my piece, since I don't have anything needing knots at the moment. Again, it was a chance to practice with supervision.

After that, I began on a "new" piece, Three Happiness. Ms Plater had taught it last summer (it's designed by Mr. Tamura of the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta (apologies for not giving proper credit initially)) and I bought it then but was wary of beginning it on my own. The fabric is metallic gold so it's hard to photograph--that's why it looks so dark. I did some pine branches (in the center), some pine needles and a couple of plum-blossom petals. The pine needles and branches were new to me. The other techniques I have learned in my Phase I piece. This little piece is a pre-phase piece for beginners.All in all a very satisfying week. Now back to reality.


coral-seas said...

You made good progress during the class and it is coming along very nicely. I know what you mean about getting back to reality. It is a big come down for me to return to week following my JE course. I'm so fired up, all I want to do it stitch, stitch, stitch. At least you have First Thursday to look forward to each month :-)

Karol said...

Very beautiful!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time and learned a lot.

Rachel said...

It sounds like it was a great course. And the best of it is, it will sink in more over the next few weeks and your stitching will get even better!

Anneg said...

Nice work! Karyn is my teacher, too. You made a lot of progress. Congratulations and remember, as Masa-san says, "Time carries skill." AnneG in NC