Update on new design and on-line classes

Published on 10th January 2021

This year I hope to post more than I have done over the last couple of years.  There are a number of new designs being developed and a some ideas are being re-visited.  These are smaller projects which will take a lot less time to produce so we'll see how things go.

I watched a very interesting video on Youtube this weekend, made by Lexus it talks about Takumi.  It is believed that in order to become a Master you have to study for 10,000 hours, but Takumi have studied for 60,000 hours.  It was fascinating to listen to the Japanese Masters who took part and to learn about their approach.  It was also interesting to hear from experts from Museums and Artificial Intelligence about their thoughts on Craft.  You can see the video here.

It will be 17 years this February since I started on my Nuido journey, this picture of Sue (foreground) and I was taken in that first class.   It's lovely to have this moment captured in time, though I am slightly concerned about how dark my hair was then and how it is now, well not!!

In recent years as I have been developing my own style and my own designs I focussed on the idea of Artist and avoided the word craft.  This is because the word craft has, I feel, become devalued here in the UK over the years.  It is used as a label for lots of things which do not require actual craftsmanship or that anyone can do quickly and easily.  The video has made me re-think the word Craft in relation to my embroidery and while these thoughts are still revolving in my mind I suspect that I will decide on two meanings for the word; craft for those things that don't take much time and effort but that are made by hand and Craftsmanship as defined in the video for those people who spends thousands of hours learning and practising their skill. 

But, enough deep thoughts for a Sunday morning and onto an update for the 'ignore the background' piece (which really needs a proper name).  I continued outlining but, as I've said before, this is very boring so I broke it up by putting in some silk.  As a contrast to the cords the leaves are being stitched in flat silk starting at the outermost points and then working up each side of the lobe.  This was fine until I got to the top where the section twisted round on itself.  The turn was so tight that it was really hard to turn the corner but then the angle of the stitch didn't match the angle on the next lobe of the leaf. 

The portfolio that this design comes from was made for yuzen dye patterns so, of course, angles and tightness of turns don't need to taken into account.  I went back to outlining the cords while I thought about alternatives and consulted with my sensei.

We discussed various options, including a turnover like at the end of chrysanthemum petals.  I really liked this idea and when I tried it out on a couple I thought it worked well.

That was until I'd completed all the lobes of the leaf and then I decided it was horrid!  It feels really really wrong.  So back to the drawing board.

I left the small leaf alone and went to the larger one.  For this I missed out the turn entirely.  These simple clean lines work beautifully.  With an outline of a variegated metallic it is much more to my taste and style.  I'll go back and alter the small leaf to match.

The same approach was used on the butterfly.  I've used a dark variegated metallic here for a fuzzy effect in the centre and the same thread will eventually outline the entire shape.

Class update.  I had hoped to re-start the local day classes that I run either this month or next but with my area of the North West going into Tier 4 just before Christmas and now into national lockdown it's all off again.  So I am starting on-line classes for existing students.  These will be run twice a month via Zoom.  If you want to book the sessions for January and February classes are in the shop.  If you are an existing student and you want to know more about how the sessions will work please drop me a line and we can have a chat. 

For new students, please watch this space.  These classes are more complicated to arrange but we'll get there. 

Be safe, be kind.




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