As some of you already know I am currently making a quilt that has a Japanese Sashiko emboridered background with a Japanese Ikebana foreground. I am machine embroidering Sashiko blocks of various sizes for an irregular layout based on a five inch grid. I am almost finished with the embroidery, but I discovered I needed a little more gray to make it have the look I am after. I am inspired by antique Japanese fishermen’s and firemen’s coats for the background, and that part of the quilt is coming along nicely.
Sew…now I have to come up with the foreground appliques. This will be somewhat like actually building an Ikebana arrangement with real flowers, but I will be using fabric flowers. I found slumbering in my stash a wonderful piece of hand-dyed silk dupioni, very slubbed and with rusty and brown colors that looks a lot like an ancient Japanese ceramic for the vase.
The actual arrangement needs to be done on the quilt top much as I would do in a vase with real flowers. Sew I found a lot of flower fabrics that I could use for my embroiderie perse flower arrangement, but I may not use them. I am also drawing from photographs or changing and coloring in some vector flower designs in my Corel Painter 15 from Dover Pictura which I might print on fabric and use for my appliques. Here is a sunflower that started out as a black and white line drawing from Dover. It needed a lot of editing before I started the coloring. If I use it, I will do some substantial thread work after applique to bring it alive. I might separate the flower from the stem and leaves so I can print them larger.
One of the arrangements I did way back when I lived in Japan that won a ribbon in a contest in Kanazawa, used two giant sunflowers, some greenery and some broom straw, which, when held properly, can be bent into swoops and swirls that hold their shape. If I use that as the basis of my Ikebana arrangement, I will couch on some thick decorative threads and cording to replicate the broom straw.
It’s great fun. When I get to the flower arrangement, I’ll take some pictures and share with you some basics on Ikebana. I hope to complete this quilt by the end of July.
Sew happy everyone! Try your hand at some broiderie perse. I found this very interesting article talking about it. http://www.womenfolk.com/quilting_history/broderieperse.htm Mine will not be using chintz, but it’s still the same concept, although I will be using machine applique with a very narrow edge stitching.