A Summer of Sashiko
The summer exhibition at Shioya is a regular fixture in the calendar for Hana-kikko-(Flower Tortoiseshell) sashiko group. Shioya is a kimono shop established in 1927, that holds a week-long exhibition every August of fabric arts such as sashiko, nuno-e (fabric pictures) and quilting, made by their customers and associates. I enjoy seeing everyone's work in a cozy setting while chatting with the shop proprietor--Shioya’s dedication to kimono culture and fabric is obvious—and always learn something new when I go there.
This year it was also an opportunity to see what other group members have been making, as sadly we still cannot meet in person. I was glad to see that our Sensei, Chiyoko Nakazaki, appears to have been productive and busy! Sensei is in her eighties and understandably reluctant to go out much with the pandemic still in full force.
I love how the red flower tortoiseshell (hana-kikko) pattern stands out beautifully in this bag she made. Hana-kikko is her favourite pattern, hence our group's name.
The simplicity of traditional blue and white sashiko is beautiful, but was it was born from strict regulations regarding use of colour and materials under the shogunate rule in the Edo period. Using colour was a freedom that many were not permitted. When I look at this bag, I see one example of the potential for versatility in design with sashiko, through the free use of colour. Multi-coloured lines and hitomezashi crosses, anchored by unifying red centres, are spaced between the vari-colored zigzag blocks, in a way that seems to project a zany joy.
This is another happy colorful bag in flower tortoiseshell (hana-kikko) pattern. Sensei studied sashiko under Yoshida Eiko (1922-2002), a major figure in the revival of modern sashiko, whose sense of design was renowned. The many books she published are still popular, and her books of bag designs standouts in my opinion. Sensei was lucky to have learned from her.
A hitomezashi cross stitch (jujizashi) variation, with the cross worked in parallel lines forms a flower-like pattern interspersed with red.
Blue and white was represented by this table runner with a bamboo motif edged in orange, stitched by Masami Inoue.
Ryoko Shiba had also made a table runner with the hemp (asanoha) pattern.
I did not submit anything new for the exhibition, but was happy to see I was still part of it in this group effort wall hanging. The hanging is one of several (seven actually!) we made for an exhibition in 2021 that was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was good to see it on public display at last. The flowers are interspersed with woven bamboo (kagome). My contribution is the flower in the bottommost right hand corner.
Known as balloon flower or Chinese bellflower in English, kikkyo is one of the seven autumn flowers traditionally appreciated for their delicacy and simplicity. I hope this tiny stitched flower will contribute to your enjoyment of autumn this year!
I love sashiko. I love its simplicity and complexity, I love looking at it, doing it, reading about it, and talking about it.
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