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.