Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Big Stitch - Japanese Pocket Book Workshop

by Margaret Craig

Japanese Pocket Book Workshop, tutor Gill Riordan, Regional Chairman of the Embroiderers’ Guild East Region

I was fortunate enough to get a pre-booked place on this highly popular workshop (they were turning people away on the day, as they were so over-subscribed!) which was thematically linked to the Japanese textiles exhibition ‘Threads of Silk and Gold’. Many people had travelled quite a distance to attend, with the woman next to me having travelled 2 hours just to get to Oxford!

Gill Riordan was the tutor for the 2 hours long workshop, amusingly supported by her husband, who had clearly been involved with the preparation of the various materials used. The Japanese Pocket Book we were making was essentially an origami-like folded silk covered holder for 3 differently sized small tasselled ornamental notebooks. The notebooks tuck into the origami folded pockets, hence the name!

We were each given a packet of materials containing all we would need for the workshop. The most important initial step was learning to create the folded pocketbook, but practising with an A4 piece of paper first. Once we had mastered the intricate folding process we could apply it to the carefully prepared silk backed paper. This had been created by Gill’s husband, who indicated that it was merely lining paper! He had painted the paper with a metallic deep terracotta colour acrylic paint on one side with the beautiful bronze, black and maroon stylised floral silk applied to the other side. The silk was adhered with double-sided sticky tape along the 4 edges rather than an overall application of Bondaweb, as some give was needed with all the folding involved.

After we’d created the folded pocket book, we needed to create our small notebooks to put in the pockets. These were much simpler with only one fold! They were also made from acrylic painted lining paper (an ochre colour this time) for the covers and a few pages of white cartridge paper for the inside. These were then simply stitched to create a book effect, which we embellished with tassels made from gold and/or black embroidery thread. However we didn’t stop there, as we were provided with a range of variously sized coloured/patterned glass and ceramic beads to choose from to add to our tassels! The small notebooks could also be further embellished through the application of corner ink stamps of a variety of designs.

But, we weren’t yet finished as we were encouraged to add beading to the folded pocket book, along the edges. We were provided with small golden glass beads to apply in whatever fashion we liked, but the emphasis was on creating a picot beaded edge. Although most of us didn’t fully complete all the edging we were encouraged to take away a small bag of beads and complete it at home. Being a rebel I didn’t do a picot edge, but embroidered a chevron pattern to tie in with the angled pocket edges instead (OK, that was for a quicker effect, but I’ve now added the picot edge too!). We were all asked to place our work along one table for the final viewing, a very satisfying time was clearly had by all!

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