Day 2 of the Colouricious itinerary for the Creative Japan tour was the clincher for me when I was deciding whether the book on the trip because it included a visit to Studio Shizuka Kusano. The visit included a workshop in a nearby community centre and a lecture/demonstration at the Kusano-san's studio. Because there was so many of us, we were split into 2 groups. The group I was in, did the workshop first, which was taught by Kusano-san's assistants.
Kusano-san came into the classroom at the end of the workshop, in her beautiful kimono. Through an interpreter she explained it was her mother's kimono and that she had embroidered the goldfish on the back
When we arrived at the studio it was setup with tables, so that we could eat our lunch. We were surrounded by amazing embroideries and I was delighted to be sat next to the Poppy Panel.
The Poppy panel was a group project, stitched by Kusano-san's students. The top of the right most panel was stitched by UK embroiderers and I had the privilege to stitch 2 of the flowers. It was fantastic to see the completed panel.
The panel is inspired by the poem "On Flanders' Field and a wide variety of techniques were used to stitch the poppies.
While we were looking at the panel I was introduced to a stitcher, who had embroidered a poppy at the bottom of the panel that came to the UK. We both pointed at our poppies and there was lots of smiles. I wish I had thought to take a photo.
After lunch, Kusano-san gave us a demonstration, explaining the tools and materials used. The piece she was working on looks like it's going to be another stunning kimono.
After the demonstration Kusano-san unrolled the fabric which had already been embroidered and allowed us to have a close look. I just love her birds.
Kusano-san then talked about the various embroideries displayed around the room, including the PoppyPanel.
One of the kimono's displayed was inspired by seeing William Morris designs during a visit to the UK a couple of years ago.
It's fascinating to see how the familiar Morris-esque design elements have been re-interpreted for Japanese Embroidery. This kimono, called "Queen Victoria" was on display in Tokyo in January as part of a collection of kimonos "Embodying the Soul of Historical Characters".
Kusano-san generously shared this work in progress and allowed us to take photos.
After the talk Kusano-san encouraged us to try on her beautiful kimonos and of course I jumped at the chance. I recognised the kimono I was wearing from a book on my shelf at home. I never dreamed I would end up wearing it one day.
here and here . I'll finish off with 1 last photo of my poppies, which are 2nd and 3rd from the left.