Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Slow and Out-of-Order

This sounds like a sign on a vending machine.  

Unfortunately, it happens to describe my relationship with Japanese Embroidery.



When I first started Japanese embroidery, I was living in Japan twenty-five years ago.

I wrote two blog posts about it in 2008, here and here.  Since most of you didn't know me back then, I thought it was time to re-acquaint this blog with my journey.

Twenty five years is a long time.  In that time, there were whole years when I didn't look at Japanese embroidery at all.  At other times,  I've embraced the practice fully and enjoyed the reunion much in the same way that you would an old long-term friend that you don't get to see very often.

The beauty of Japanese embroidery is that the study is cumulative.  There are ten Phases to complete (to a certain standard) in order to "graduate" and receive a teaching certificate.  Graduation requires that Phases I through IX be completed before you attend class for Phase X at the Japanese Embroidery Center in Atlanta, GA.

My path through the phases has been non-linear and most definitely out-of-order.

I completed two and half phases while I was in Japan.  Here is my Phase I...



The second piece I completed was a goldwork circle with Pine Trees which I gave away to a mentor of mine at my last job.  I wasn't able to locate a picture to share.  The piece doesn't exist in the current Phases taught through the Japanese Embroidery Center and some days I do regret giving it away.

The third piece I started in Japan and finished once I returned to the U.S.  It's this purse of knotted cords and meets the requirement for Phase V...



Once I returned to the States, I found a home with one of my greatest life teachers, Tonie Evans.

Located only a half hour from my home in Silver Spring, MD, Tonie has been more than patient in the past twenty years while my commitment to Japanese Embroidery has waxed and waned.  I'm looking forward to talking more about Tonie next week as she is teaching a "taster" class to my Embroidery Guild on Monday.

When I began as Tonie's student, I was required to complete this piece...


Which was considered a double phase for II and III since there were so many techniques taught in the one embroidery.

Next for me was Goldwork and Phase IV...



I loved stitching this piece very much and I can't wait to finish my Phases so I can start another goldwork piece.

Next I started Phase VI, which I am currently trying to finish...Eternal Grace...


She's been Eternal alright!

Due to life, I missed many of Grace's classes and fell behind.  I left the piece unfinished in order to keep up with the Phase VII class, the pansies...


The pansies were the first piece where we had to choose all of our colors which was quite challenging.

Today, I have to finish Phase IV...and complete Phases VIII and IX in order to attend graduation in the Fall of 2015.

Carol-Ann Conway has been a blogging friend for the past 7 years and is also planning to attend graduation in 2015.  Carol-Ann lives in the UK and we have never met in person.  It will be a very special time for us both to attend graduation together.  Fingers crossed. (Carol-Ann just became certified to teach Japanese bead embroidery.  Her blog is a real treat.)

Though it is taking me a loooong time to complete my Japanese embroidery instruction,  I'm a different embroiderer today and what I gain from continued practice is quite different than when I first started.

As my Japanese Embroidery practice moves to the front burner, it will be showing up here on the blog more frequently.  Consider this post an introduction.  Plus, I know if I post about it, this blog (and you friends) will keep me on track!

For more information about Japanese Embroidery classes and to find an instructor in your area, visit the Japanese Embroidery Center website or follow them on Facebook.  Carol-Ann Conway's blog is Threads Across the Web and she often blogs about Japanese Embroidery.

If you know of additional Japanese Embroidery blogs or online resources, please share in the comments.  I've been out-of-order for a while now and may not know all that is available.  

29 comments:

cucki said...

Aww so beautiful...xxx

Rachel said...

You've done some beautiful work, and I look forward to seeing more of it. I do read Carol-Anne's blog, and I was very impressed to read about her teaching qualification!.

Cari said...

YOU are amazing. I love your blog, your work, your instructions, your talent….I could go on and on. Thank you so much Susan for sharing all of your journeys with me!!

Margaret said...

Exquisite!

Cath said...

What a treat to see your Japanese Embroidery. All your pieces are beautifully stitched. Best wishes with your goal to achieve your graduation - just try not to let the pressure of the deadline spoil the pleasure of the embroidery.

Moonsilk Stitches said...

Beautiful work! And you give me hope. I began 10 years ago, in Atlanta. Then my phase 1 bouquet sat for seven years. I finally connected with a teacher, Karyn Plater, and finished phase 1 and a small side piece, and began phase 2. Now it's set aside again--this year is all about knee replacements and trying to keep up at work, too. It certainly has enriched my life and I long to get back to it.

Judy S. said...

Gorgeous work, Susan! It was fun to see examples of your work with this type of embroidery. Great post!

Marian Hertzog said...

So many different avenues to take with the art of embroidery! Loved looking at Carol-Annes blog as well. I was not familiar with Japanese work. Yours is amazing. It sounds like a challenge to get to step 10. I liked the goldwork piece too. All so rich looking!

Miriam said...

Beautiful work, Susan. I love your goldwork piece.
Have fun with the rest of your course.

Robbie said...

Your workmanship is wonderful!!! I would so love to learn this embroidery as well as their bead embroidery! Thanks for sharing your work...it's truly and inspiration.

Kris said...

I actually found your blog looking for JE blogs. (I bet you have also found Nejiribana from Jane, also in the UK.) I have often hoped you would get back to it. I have been doing JE for a while now, and I can say that many of our group finished phases VII and VIII during the time they stitched VI, me included. Grace will happen. Your Pansies are really lovely. Any time you are feeling you need a kick, just ask. I can use the same myself for the last bits of my XI.

Anonymous said...

These are breath-taking! What a journey! It's really neat to see your path. :) ~ Sheila I.

margaret said...

Susan your stitching is immaculate, I know you will complete this journey and will then be sharing your skills with others who want to learn

deb* said...

gorgeous work, it will be a beautiful journey!

Mary Ann said...

Wow! Just beautiful work.

Createology said...

First of all you are so adorable with your happy smile. I always enjoy your skills and feel certain you will master and complete your Japanese Embroidery journey. "It takes as long as it takes" I learned many years ago. Graduation will be well earned by you. Beautiful precise pieces you have created dear.

wendy said...

Such beautiful work!

terryb said...

While all of your pieces are beautiful, the goldwork is really stunning. Gorgeous!

coral-seas said...

I've just received a lovely comment on my blog createology and a flurry of new followers so I had to come and see what had prompted so many visitors.

I found your blog when I had just begun writing my own and was looking for someone - anyone - who was also writing about JE. Your most recent post was the one about Grace but life had interrupted your journey and your blog lay silent for a long while. I kept watch, waiting, hoping you and Grace would reappear and one joyful day you did. Hooray! What a journey your blog has taken me on since then. You've made me laugh, you've made me cry and you have shown me a whole different world of creativity.

My Japanese Embroidery has been on the back burner while I focused on finishing my beading Phase V so I could graduate. Now that I have, the embroidery is moving to the front burner again because you and I have a very important date. Phase X has been my goal for many years but meeting you, my friend, will be the biggest cherry on the cake.

coral-seas said...

Jane blogs not only about her own very beautiful Japanese Embroidery but also posts about things related to Japanese Embroidery and textiles.

http://www.nejiribana.co.uk/Page.php?ID=BlogList&Cat=1

Sonja said...

Love it. I study Japanese Embroidery too. Just finishing my cords for Phase V. I love it.

Jane in Wisconsin said...

What beautiful work! Many years ago I took a class from Shay Pendray. While I enjoyed it, I did not have the aptitude for it. A member of my EGA chapter did take several classes and I always enjoyed seeing what she was working on. Thank you for the link to the Japanese beading blog.

Mosaic Magpie said...

My first thought upon seeing your photo was Susan has had her hair cut! You haven't changed much in 25 years!!! The embroidery....WOW! Such beautiful stitching and seeing your work framed has given me a new appreciation for JE.

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Marsha said...

I'm so excited to see your Japanese Embroidery progress. I think anything you do is facinating and gorgeous. Truthfully, I never knew there was such a thing so it's educational too. Keep up the good work I'll be excited to see you graduate.

Jane said...

Hi Susan, looking forward to seeing Grace gowing some more. I've always thought your colour choice was lovely. jane

Allison Aller said...

The work is indeed exquisite!...but my favorite photo is the first one. ;-)

maire said...

I love your picture of yourself when you were in Japan!!! Your son looks just like you…Thank you for sharing your embroidery journey…some exquisite work, Susan, as always.

Catherine said...

It is always so fun to read of your adventures and see your beautiful work!

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