Saturday, 12 May 2012

Finding that elusive ‘Aha’ moment

My silk painting has taken off in an unexpected direction. After an enjoyable week of experiments and learning, without the pressure of making anything in particular, I started to wonder what a glass cabochon would look like if I laid it over some painted silk. I selected a lovely rectangular piece of glass which was clear in places. Then I placed one of my handmade silk beads next to it. ‘Kimono’ sprang into my head instantly, so out with the watercolours and sketchbook to put some ideas down on paper for a bead embroidered neckpiece incorporating some of my silk.

Experiment with making
the silk scroll

This was a real ‘Aha’ moment and I just know that I am going to be slightly obsessed until ‘Kimono’ is complete. I think this will be a very interesting one to take step-by-step photos of for another You Tube video. Must find some lovely Japanese music for it. A proper kimono has lots of parts to it. As well as the garment itself the sash, or obi takes skill to tie. A traditional kimono is a multi-layered garment, so that will influence my design. Taking the time to research the background of what I making has always been an important - and hugely enjoyable part of the process for me. The colours and patterns of the kimono have symbolic meanings. Purple, for instance, symbolises deep and undying love. This is because the Gromwell plant that was used as dye has very long roots. The Shichifukujin are the seven good luck deities, a scroll of brocade is carried by one, so I will create tiny scrolls intricately embellished and stitched with metal thread and beads. This will be a very meaningful piece and what a lovely neckpiece to wear on a special wedding anniversary.
My worksheet for my 'Kimono Neckpiece' I find it really useful to organise my thoughts before I start work
on the beading. I refer to my original drawings often as work progresses.
Viking knit tools - can't wait to try them out
A new piece of equipment arrived this week. Viking knit chain kit complete with 4 mandrels, wire and draw plate. This has been beautifully made in English Ash by a very talented woodworker, who sells on etsy at
You form intricate woven wire chain over a mandrel and then make it thinner by pulling it through the draw plate. My mind is buzzing with ideas of how to incorporate this in my work.

Viking knit and wire wrapping are skills I’m keen to master, after I get ‘Kimono’ done…… and then there’s the peacock piece and those wood elf earrings I see in my minds eye and……. oh dear I need a longer week!

Other activities this week have included some experimenting with new ways to do the middle bits of bead daisies, painting fabric panels to make sketchbook covers and making a cushion cover (to cheer up my beading chair). Still too wet to do much in the garden, but at least the pot of bright pink Gerberas I bought have provided some inspiration – and a tasty treat for the slugs and snails who seemed ready for a change from my pansies.

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