Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Embroiderers Guild ventures into new territory

Charlene Marietti, textile artist extraordinaire, was our April program instructor for a session of Japanese Braiding, aka Kumihimo.  Equipped with kits for beginners, including a Kumihimo Disk, as well as the real braiding frames, set up to demonstrate to us, Charlene gave us an afternoon of great fun, and a lot of new skills.  

Here's the real thing, used for serious braiding, normally on the floor, with the artist kneeling to work but here on a table for demo purposes

And here is Charlene showing us how to use the beginner's Kumihimo Disk

 Note her own jewelry -- the bracelet and pin are both made from braiding.

She brought in a small library of reference books

 many examples of beautiful braided items, from jewelry to cords useful as ties and belts and whatever the maker needs.  

And she prepared numerous precut and tied threads so that we could plunge right in and try our hands at this new form.  

There was not a single person who had ever done this before, and there was not a single person who left without learning how to get started!  Your humble blogwriter needed the help of Charlene plus two colleagues to get a couple of inches of braid completed, but is nonetheless proud of her achievement!  I worked, along with the other participants, a Maru Yotsu, basic chain, with four bobbins.Our kits included a set of instruction pages

and some of us got quite far into them

Charlene is knowledgeable not only about the skills and art of making braiding, but its history too, which dates back to when the shoguns were active and using the armor which was connected with tough braided cords, and to when the Japanese traditional dress required braided features, such as those used for the obi -- the sash-- or the braids that attached  netsuke to the owner's belt.

Not limited to Japan, similar braiding and designs have been found in South America's past, too.

Today's Western maker might be thinking more in terms of making the finishing braid for the pillows we needlepoint, or for bracelets and necklaces. She was wearing a wonderful twined bracelet and a pin, both created from Kumihimo. The ideas for using this artform are endless, and your writer sees, once she gets that basic chain down, using kumihimo as a feature in her mixed media art.

We really needed days more with this great instructor, but this one afternoon was a fine introduction, with a weaver and braider who loves to teach and shows it.  To learn more about her, go here.
 She produces a weekly newsletter, and you can sign up right on her site.

Reminder: Next Board meeting will be on Wednesday, April 29th, and the May Board meeting will be May 27.

The May 3rd's program is Paper Jewelry, taught by Liz Adams, and members will get a reminder of the sign-in list nearer the time. Anyone who has not yet signed in will be encouraged to do so, to give Liz time to create enough kits.  Cost will be $12 total. Also watch this blog for a post showing you examples of paper jewelry created by Liz, nearer the time, so you can be thinking of what you would like to make.

June 7 will be the annual picnic, this year hosted by Carol Prevost 

And in September when we resume our program meetings (remember stitch-ins go on all year), Liz Maroney will teach Temari Balls. She would like everyone to be saving knee highs or pantyhose to cut up as stuffing for the temari ball project, not too early to start doing that.