Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kazuko Aoki's Wonderful Needlework

I've been wanting to share this book with you for some time because it's one of my favorites.

There are many foreign language needlework books in my library; some French and many Japanese.

This book is written all in Japanese but that should not deter you. The pictures are detailed and beautiful and the eye candy in this book is a treat for all your senses.

One thing I admire most about Japanese needlewomen is their exquisite attention to detail and their willingness to create beauty around them from some of the objects that we use most every day.


Kazuko Aoki is a queen when it come to elevating the mundane and the subtle nuances of daily life to the status of art. She really pays attention to the world around her, whether man-made or natural, and then seeks to find and use that beauty in the needlework she creates.


Her approach is representative of one of the key spiritual values of the wabi-sabi aesthetic...the idea that the inconspicuous or overlooked detail can be elevated to "greatness". Though not easily or concisely translated, wabi-sabi exists as a comprehensive value system for the Japanese and I'd love to discuss it again in a later post.



I own quite a few of Kazuko Aoki's numerous needlework books and I have yet to be disappointed by one of her publications.

When I lived in Japan, I would take an entire day to go to the Kinokuniya bookstore and settle down in their "craft book" section. One more beautiful book after another is shelved there. Luckily for us, there are many Kinokuniya bookstores around the world and I am just a short trip away from one in New York City.


If you go there, I highly recommend a side trip over to Takashimaya, the Japanese Department store on 5th Ave. and have "Japanese" afternoon tea at the Tea Box Cafe. You will not be disappointed!


When I can't get to Kinokuniya and I must have a book, I have ordered books from Amazon (Japan). I have also ordered books from Amazon (France) and have had success with both, though the shipping can be as much as the books themselves. On both sites, there is a button to click on that converts the site to English. I figure, it's cheaper than a trip to Japan or a trip to New York. In fact, I get regular emails from both of these stores with newly released needlework books for me to peruse.

Here's a link to Kazuko Aoki's book from today's post on Amazon (Japan).

10 comments:

Jonna said...

I stubbled across your blog from I'm not sure where. I just had to comment for a few reasons. My daughter is currently in Hekinan Japan teaching english. This has been her dream since she was in Jr High? We are not sure where her fascination with Japan came from but she loves Japan. And your crazy quilt block is stunning. I haven't quilted in years and there seems to be a crazy quilt revival. It was always my favorite style of quilting. You do amazing work.

Jonna said...

Stubbled?...sorry meant stumbled

paulahewitt said...

wow - i really like this - particularly the embroidered film strips. the concept of wabi-sabi is interesting - Id like to hear more about it.

Barbara C said...

Wow, what eye candy. My favorites are the green tennies and the embroidered garden gloves.

I tried to answer your email Susan, but it bounced back. Your spam filter may be set at high. Maybe if you add me to your address book, my messages can get through.

Yes, let's knit the Vogue sweater together. When will you be ready to start?

Elisabeth Braun said...

Wow! Fancy making embroidered jackets for your paint tubes!!=) Isn't the Japanese script almost as beautiful as the stitched work?

Kathie said...

next time I am in NYC I am going to have to go to this book store.
I love the japanese quilting magazines and never can find them here in NJ. I hope they carry them . I guess I had better plan on a few hours in this book store?
now to find out where it is exactly!
thanks for the information
Kathie

Allison Ann Aller said...

What a revelation! Truly, this is loveliness itself. More on wabi sabi, please!

Pigtown-Design said...

Takashimya has been a favourite of ours for many, many years. We always go there to do a little shopping and then have tea afterwards.

Jurga said...

I searched something about Kazuko Aoki on Google and found your blog. Thanks for sharing some pictures, they are amazing :)
And your works are just stunning, I get many inspirations there, thank you! :)

Fée Clobouclett' said...

Hello !
I'm very happy to find your beautyful blog (via google, about Kazuko Aoki) ;o)
I'm searching charts (from DMC) and book named "tiny embroidery and tiny garden", al of these aren't sold now...but maybe someone have these and wanted to sell them !? have you got this book or one of these charts ? I thank you very much for your help, even if it would be negative ;o)
kind regards and go on your blog !
Fée

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