Welcome to 2021

Published on 1st January 2021

I was going to start this post with thoughts about last year and the new year to come, but I decided we've all been through it and experienced it so I'll just say Happy New Year and wish you all joy and laughter and, because this is a blog traditional Japanese embroidery, shiny silk and sharp needles. 

I didn't do as much embroidery in 2020 as I had intended or hoped, but I have made progress and over the last few weeks have felt a renewed energy to tackle the new designs that I've got ready to go.  For the first post of 2021 I'm sharing a completed project which has been kept under wraps until now.  This project was for my sister who had a significant birthday in 2020.  Like many other events plans to celebrate were put on hold withe the intention that we'd pick things up later in the year.  Of course this didn't happen, so the completed piece finally got to her on Christmas day and I'm now able to show it off.

While in our class with Kusano sensei a couple of years ago she spoke about not restricting ourselves in our embroidery and that we should think about incorporating images or ideas from our own expericences or cultures into our designs.   This idea resonated with me and I have been trying to develop some designs which incorporate both English and Japanese themes.  This is the first one which has been completed.   

Also while in Japan I picked up a number of these small picture frames where the centre is interchangeable.  So, as my sister is a gardener, I decided to give her one of these frames along with embroideries of four flowers to represent the four seasons, but I would make the flowers English rather than Japanese. 

I spent some time choosing the a colour of kimono fabric that I thought would work for all seasons and going through various books of plants and flowers.

I eventually settled on holly, daffodil, iris and lily.  I used some artistic license in this choice as I wanted to be sure I chose flowers I knew my sister liked and that I thought would look pretty when stitched. 





By the time I got to this one I was having doubts about the holly.  It didn't really have any meaning for me and I felt that the holly design I had wouldn't work.   While in this dilemma my sister and I had a discussion about the community centre near where we grew up.  It is more years than I care to remember since we were there but it is still a thriving community centre based in a large Victorian house with, as I remember it, a huge garden. While I don't remember the garden being particularly special it did have hundreds of snowdrops each winter always surrounded by snow.  So, because I love snowdrops and to represent those shared childhood experiences the holly became a snowdrop. 

So here we go, flowers of the four seasons (more or less).  I forgot to take photos of them mounted up and ready to go into the frame!  When we get our of tier 4 lock down and I'm able to go for a visit I'll take photos of them in the frames. 



Four seasons

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