Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First Step on a Long Journey

It's been five years since my first post on Japanese Embroidery. The plan was always this: start with Japanese bead embroidery and then one day, go back to the JEC and start phase 1 for Japanese Embroidery. This was always the plan for three reasons:
  • I didn't have the space (I still don't) to accommodate all the paraphernalia that JE would involve (frame, trestle, special tools and threads). Right now all my tools for my phase 1 Japanese bead embroidery fits in one tote bag.
  • I don't have the time to really give it the proper attention as I'm still working full time. 
  • And the really big one, there are 10 phases in JE and it would be too expensive to travel to and from the JEC to do all of them as there are no teachers anywhere near my area.
That all changed last year when classes for seminar 2017 were announced. At the EAC seminar this year, a taster class on Japanese embroidery was offered. Not only that, the teacher Sue Sprake lived in Ontario, Canada. Since seminar, we've approached Sue to see if she would be willing to travel to Montreal to give a 4-day class and she has accepted! This means, starting October 27 I will be beginning my (long) journey into Japanese Embroidery.

I'm beyond excited to start as I've been dreaming of this moment for a long time. I've already payed for my deposit and booked the days off at work. Now all that's left is picking my phase 1 piece and placing my kit order with Sue. There are four phase 1 designs offered by the JEC but I'm stuck deciding between two right now and can't make up my mind. So I figured I'd ask you all for your opinions.

Choice #1: Hanazume - Flower Circle. This is the piece my friend Nancy has stitched. I've seen hers and it looks wonderful. It's a great beginner piece as it has a little of everything without being too big. The colors are lovely in person with soft peaches and creme, coral and greens. It would suite my more traditional tastes perfectly.

Choice #2: Bouquet from the Heart of Japan. I was not particularly enamored with this piece and I've never seen it in person. However, Nancy sent me closeup pictures of it that she had saved from the now defunct Stitching Fingers and it looks beautiful. So now I can't decide. The bouquet piece is bigger and has more work in it than Hanazume. It's more complex and there are also a few extra techniques in this one that aren't in Hanazume like the basket and the cords. This is the piece recommended by the JEC as it introduces many techniques that are expanded on in the later phases.

So now I have a problem. I have to decide between satisfying my tastes and my love of complexity. The bouquet piece would look just as lovely hanging in my home, but Hanazume would fit better. What do you think?


  1. I sympathize, but I'm no good to you at all, I'm afraid - I can't decide either!

  2. That's exciting! I would go with the bouquet as I would learn more from it. I always see class pieces as learning pieces. Later on, once I've learned the techniques, I can always design something that suits my tastes.

  3. I'm so excited for you Dima! I'm sure you will really enjoy it. I know what you mean about space requirements- since starting the Certificate I need so much space to do the work! I'm lucky we have a large flat, I will need to put space on the list for the next place!
    As a design, I prefer the first option, but maybe learning more stitches and techniques is a good thing for the next stages?

  4. I would do the one I love. I am powering my way through a pilot class. I like it, but don't love it. If I didn't have a deadline, this piece would live in my basement. You will learn the other techniques at a later date so my vote is for the Hanazume.

  5. You are going to love Japanese Embroidery.Because you have thought about it for a while you know what you are letting yourself in for. I thought about for over 15 years before I took the plunge because money, space and time were less of an issue. I also started with bead embroidery first because it was more accessible. I have stitched both Hanazume and Bouquet and both are good. Hanazume is a better introduction but Bouquet prepares you better for following phases because it has a foundation for the flower paper and a cord. Hanazume took me 4 months to finish and Bouquet took me 15 months but I did do the old version without colour so there was more stitching to do. You will enjoy stitching both of them.

  6. What a nice dilemma to have. I think you should choose the Hanazume since you like that one so much. Whatever you don't learn in this phase (compared to the Bouquet) will probably be taught in other phases, so stitch what sings to your heart.

  7. What a difficult decision! Both pieces are beautiful. I am veering towards the Bouquet because of the tastes of the different techniques but there are pros and cons for both pieces!

  8. Your post screams out to me that you want to do Hanazume so I think you should go with that one.

  9. The second Bouquet from the Heart of Japan is aesthetically more pleasing I think. It would be my choice.