Jane Smith - Hand Embroiderer
Over the years I've tried different types of embroidery but it was in 1991 that an impulse lead me to enrol on an adult education course in Exeter where I was introduced to traditional Japanese embroidery (JE). It is this art form which has fascinated and inspired me ever since. In 2004 I began my studies in earnest and since then I have dedicated myself to the study and practice of Japanese embroidery developing the high level of technical skill needed, learning about colour, design, style, fabrics, developing my sensitivity to the touch and feel of the silk, and gradually developing an almost spiritual connection with my art. After many thousands of hours of stitching and study 2010 saw my graduation from the Japanese Embroidery Center, Atlanta.
Along with developing and embroidering my own designs I have been teaching JE since 2010 introducing this wonderful form of embroidery to a new generation of students. JE is still quite rare outside of Japan even I am one of only a couple of tutors in the North of England, but it is slowly growing and I hope that more people will discover and come to love JE as much as I do.
Much of the inspiration for my own designs comes from colours and designs found on antique kimono. Each piece of work is embroidered entirely by hand onto 100% kimono or obi silk using flat silk thread giving the characteristic sheen which only occurs in traditional Japanese embroidery. An extraordinary level of technical skill is required and the techniques involved mean that each piece of work takes many hours to complete, on average about 60-70 hours, although large pieces can take 200-300 hours.
I am available for talks and demonstrations of Japanese embroidery and have many examples of both my own and antique embroidery for display. For more information and class detail please visit the events page.
In 2012 I was privileged to be invited to be a part in the study day for the Threads of Silk and Gold Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. My talk on the study day covered the techniques of traditional Japanese embroidery, whilst my gallery talks covered the pieces in the exhibition.