Monday, September 15, 2008

Resurrecting Grace

I have re-boarded the Japanese Embroidery bus after a hiatus of close to one year.

I have been a Japanese embroidery student for almost 15 years, three of which were spent in Japan where I completed three pieces of embroidery. There are 10 phases of Japanese Embroidery instruction that must be completed before you can graduate and receive your Teacher's certification. I have completed Phases I, II, III, IV, V, and VII. I have taken longer than most because life often gets in the way when you are working, raising a child and caring for family.

I would rather be on the slow road, however, than not be on the road at all.

Still to be completed are Phase VI (Eternal Grace pictured here today), Phase VIII which is a peony design called Queen of Flowers and Phase IX which is entitled Sake Box. I have one year to complete these three pieces of embroidery.

Yesterday, I decided to resurrect Eternal Grace and give her life.


Japanese Embroidery requires a lifestyle of commitment where some amount of stitching is required almost daily. In my opinion, it is the only way one can complete the amount of work that goes into each piece.

This is a favorite piece for many and, though it looks as if I have a lot completed, there is a tremendous amount of "finishing" work to this piece.

Yesterday I stitched the undergarments of the kimono and still have some more stitching to do to complete the filling stitches.


One of my favorite areas on this piece is the obi around the waist of the kimono. I am quite fond of the simple little blister flowers that are stitched in white silk on top of the orange twisted silk foundation. They make the whole piece come alive for me. These flowers are stitched by making five french knots and then covering those french knots with flat silk so that the silk spreads over the knot giving a beautiful raised effect.

The fabric of this piece is also quite special. The tone on tone pattern you see is called shippo tsunagi which means linked seven treasures. It was a pattern used by courtiers since the Heian period and was not allowed to be worn by commoners.


Over the next few months, God willing, you may see more updates on these embroideries as I complete different components. The designs are all copyright of the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta and you can find out lots more information about Japanese Embroidery on their web site.

9 comments:

coral-seas said...

Hooray, I am so pleased to see you back at JE. Welcome back Gracie! You are have chosen a beautiful colour scheme. I am really looking forward to seeing some more of your JE over the coming months. Like you I am on the slow road and you are quite right, better the slow road than no road. Hope life is kind to both of us and doesn't take too much of our stitching time away. :)

CA

Elisabeth Braun said...

Oh, I've seen her before! Looks great though and I'm sure you'll make it in the end. Life is more important though, so you've made the right decision in the life-stitch balance.=)

Barbara C said...

What exquisite work! I like your statement that embroidery is a lifestyle that requires daily practice. Each stitch--along with the rest of life-- is part of the journey.

Vicki W said...

I look forward to watching this develop - it's stunning!

Allison Ann Aller said...

This stitching is so refined and elegant. It must be so wonderful to have this coming out of your hands....

Jane said...

How lovely to see you back to your Japanese embroidery after such a busy life filled year.
Your Grace is lovely (I chickened out of all that short stich holding and did the ducks!). I will look forward to seeing her and her kimono develop.

Lil said...

Hi Susan! Great to see you stopped by! Wow! I am still playing catch up with my blogs on google reader and hadn't seen your japanese work. Simply Stunning!

Chris' Greetings from the Shady Grove said...

I am amazed at your exquisite workmanship. I have worked with many forms of embroidery though out my life but I have never seen much on Japanese Embroidery. So much more to learn in this lifetime!

freebird said...

This really looks like a lot of work! It's beautiful though. Good luck on finishing your three pieces.

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