Friday, October 29, 2010

Seven heads are better than one.........

To celebrate International Temari Appreciation Day, several members from the Temari Challenge Yahoo group got together (figuratively speaking) and created an original temari design. Each of us took a turn in adding an element to the ball until it was finished.

My contribution was to select the division type and marking thread, something I was quite happy about doing. So I chose a C8 , thinking to challenge myself. And then I must admit I went from very keen to a little apprehensive when I realised I may have got my ambitions mixed up with my capabilities! However, there is always a very generous sharing of knowledge in the temari community so, I figured that there would be someone who could assist if I got stuck, and sure enough, when the first stitching element (Sakasa Uwagake Kagari) was added it wasn't one I had ever done before, and Rebecca kindly offered to help. Luckily I was able to understand the instructions over on the TemariKai website, and went on to follow the other pattern elements without too much drama. That's not to say my Sakasa Uwagake Kagari stitching is wonderful, I actually have no two that look the same on the ball. It was stitched on three threads, and I have several variations in tension and length of the 'legs'. It shows me in no uncertain terms that while I now understand the concept, I have a long way to practice in the execution!!! (I plan to complete this design again in a different colour scheme so that gives me plenty of opportunity to practice!!)

The challenge was great. I learnt so much from working through a design this way. It's amazing how much you learn to 'see' and actually recognise once you are actually stitching it. And together, we created an original design. This was also something that had me stumped. I'd sit there and think "of course it's possible to design an original, if you're an experienced stitcher. I need a lot more learning to even begin to know where to start designing." Now I'm thinking, "of course I can design an original temari pattern now and it will be pretty cool, and when I am more experienced I will have oodles more ideas to play with".

So thanks to (in order of design), Rod B, me, Laura B, Rebecca AK, Kat, Barb S and Debi A. The image above is my interpretation of our combined design.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GITS received

Through the Talk Temari yahoo group, I was recently involved in a GITS - that's a Great International Temari Swap. This is a great initiative that enables stitchers to create a temari for a swap partner in another part of the world. It enables temari to be shared and for stitchers to view temari other than their own. Even with the expansion of the internet, and the number of fantastic temari images now available, there is nothing quite like viewing a temari 'in person'.

This is the second GITS I have been a part of, and this time the theme was 'Stitchers Choice'. My partner was Bonnie from Vermont, USA. I got home Wednesday to find that the postman had left a card in my mail box so I excitedly dashed around to the corner store to collect my parcel, and then dashed home again. I opened up the box to find this stunning temari inside. I love the flowers and am very proud to be the recipient of such an awesome gift. Thanks Bonnie!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Temari Time!! now I'm up to date...let's get onto temari!

Temari making took over my spare time in April this year. It's (as many would tell you) something that very quickly turns into an addiction. A big thanks to Temari Addict Australia for helping me develop my orbsession (get it?!) so quickly.

I dont have the longest attention span when it comes to focusing on one particular hobby, so imagine my surprise to find that I not only made one temari, but then made several more, and as yet, haven't found the fascination to be dwindling at all.

I have a few Japanese books, and a few of the English ones as well. I'm fascinated by the patterns and the shapes, the layers and colour combinations possible. I'm learning different techniques. And I'm having a ball (oops...there's another one!).

So a little while ago, the idea for an International Temari Appreciation Day (ITAD) was born (thanks Rebecca), and it's October 22nd - yep - that's tomorrow! There is a Flickr page for ITAD, and a fantastic competition aimed at spreading the temari word. Go have a look at some of the great pic's that are there already. Thanks also go to Rebecca for setting up a International Temari Day blog page.

To celebrate ITAD, I have put a small display at my workplace, and also done up some leaflets for my local craft shop. I'm also working on a ball with a group from the Temari Challenge group on Yahoo, an original creation with inputs from seven of us. It's interesting to see what each person adds to the design, and I'm itching to see how it turns out.

I also decided to add this blog to my signature on the Yahoo groups so that someone other than me knows it exists! Anyhow, here are some photo's of some of the temari I have made.

My favourite temari is the black base with the purple, yellow and green kiku pattern. I have my threads seperated into four colour groups - blues, greens, earths and pink/purples. I challenged myself to choose one colour from three of the four boxes, and this was the combination that resulted. I am repeatedly amazed that a change in colour combination can alter the apperance of a relatively simple design so drastically.

Dragonfly pincushion

This a pincushion and scissor fob that I created. It used blanket stitch, which is my favourite of all stitches. I can still remember the look on my Mums face as I repaired the torn sleeve of an old yard-shirt with blanket stitch. I think she despaired of me ever being able to grasp the concept of neatness and invisibility when it came to sewing.

Lucky for me, sewing pincushions and associated bits and bobs with felt can incorporate blanket stitch quite effectively. Yay!!!

I participated in a pincushion round-robin, in which a box of pincushion goodies went around the world. That was fun. The pincushion and fob in the picture now reside on the other side of the country. I love how the internet has made interstate and international crafting so much more available to everyone. It's awesome to know that something in your collection started it's life in the hands of someone thousands of kilometers away, or that something you made now lives in a different house with a different crafter and is possibly being shared with a community that you never would have had something to do with beforehand.

Unfortunately, with the incorporation of temari making into my life, pincushion making has taken a backseat. If only I could pay my mortgage off with craft items!!!

Playing with clay

Another one of my forays was into the world of clay sculpture. Now I have never done anything like this before - excepting the coil pots I made at high school that were a little bit of a disaster, so I wasn't sure how this would go. The instructor assured me she had never had someone 'fail' before, so I jumped right in.

I spent hours and hours at classes. It was great. The only reason I'm not doing it now is that it was a fair way from my house and the travel got to me after a few months.

So this is what I ended up with. It's a bit androgynous, but I was really happy with the results. I was inspired by the fantasy fiction I read, and wanted to create a human-like species, but not quite. I think I managed to create a respectable piece of art, that looks like it represents a person from a fantasy world.

Past explorations......

Here are a couple of pics of stuff I have done in my craft life BT (that's Before Temari).

This first image is of some books and miniature-book bookmarks I made after completing a bookbinding course a few years back. It was great, and being an avid reader, creating books was awesome. I couldn't believe I actually made a book. OK, so there was nothing written on the pages, but I made a book nonetheless. Bookbinding is one of those lost crafts that combines precisions, technical know-how, and creativity, and if you ever get the chance, I'd recommend that you have a go!

The second image is of an ex-libris plate that I designed. Being that I have an ongoing fantasy of one day owning a huge library with sliding timber ladders, spiral staircases, floor to ceiling shelving, and a dozen cats curled up on stacks of books and big leather armchairs, I got sidetracked into looking at ex-libris plates. These are also known as bookplates, as they are glued into the front of books to identify the owner of the book. You may remember them being stuck into school books when you were a child. Books used to have quite a limited availability and be quite valuable, and identifying who owned a book was important, especially if they were loaned to other people.

Anyhow, I decided to create my own design, one that represented me. Then I discovered that I couldn't glue them into books, as it borders on vandalism to me (I cant dog-ear pages or write in books - even in pencil -either). So...I have an ex-libris plate that serves no practical purpose :) Oh well. So be it. I'm just happy the design turned out nicely.