Saturday, August 18, 2018

Japanese Prints (Part I) [1]
Works on Paper

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction [1]
Just over a hundred years after it first reached the West, the so-called Japanese print has become one of the best-known and most popular forms of Japanese Art. The term "Japanese print" is now synonymous with the broadsheet woodblock print, printed in full color, which dates from a time roughly corresponding to the Edo period (1615 - 1868). In Japan such works are referred to as Ukiyo-e ("floating world pictures")., "Ukiyo" being originally a Buddhist word. During the seventeen century, however, its meaning changed to indicate the "floating world" of city life with its transient pleasures. A seventeenth-century woodblock printed book admirably describes it as:

"Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasure of the moon, sun, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves, singing songs, drinking wine, and diverting ourselves just in floating, floating, caring not a whit for the pauperism staring us in the face, refusing to be disheartened., like a gourd floating along with the river current: this is what we call the floating world."

It is this world which Japanese prints most frequently portrays.

In 1615, after nearly 200 hundred years of civil war, Japan was unified once more by Tokugawa Ieyasu who, as shogun or military ruler, became the de facto ruler of the country. He established Edo (modern Tokyo) as the center of government, while Kyoto remained the home of the imperial court. It was theses two cities, along with Osaka, which became the most thriving urban centres of Edo period and which housed the main publishing establishments.

The early Edo period also experienced social and economic changes which had far reaching effect on the arts and crafts of the time. Japanese society was divided into three rigid groups, with merchants and artisans at the bottom. This early period also coincided with a time of general material prosperity, and despite their lowly status, the townspeople of Edo period rose to a new position of prominence.

The merchants used their new-found wealth in the pursuit of leisure activities. In Edo, the Yoshiwara district was set aside expressly for this purpose, with theatres, brothels, tea houses, sake-drinking parlours and eating establishments, as well as shops. They also sought material evidence of their wealth in form of art objects. Lacking any cultural or stylistic traditions in this field, they were looking for a new form of art with which they could associate and which they could really understand. Ukiyo-e prints, portraying scenes of everyday life in a manner which did not rely wholly on any existing style of painting, developed as one manifestation of bourgeois art to fulfil this need.

Japanese Prints (Part I) [1]

A couple warming themselves by a kotatsu by Katsukawa Terusbige (active from 1715 - 25). Handcolored and inscribed with a poem. In the background of the print is the tokonoma (or display alcove) which reveals the lower part of a painted hanging scroll, a pile of woodblock printed books, a lacquer box and burning incense, while to the left is a painted screen [1].

A fashionable and entertaining guide by Okumura Toshinobu (ca. 1717 - 50). Handcolored and decorated with brass dust. A samurai is being guided by a fashionable beauty, with Mount Fuji in the background [1].

Actor Sodezaki Iseno, as a girl, embraced by actor Ogimo Isaburō, as a samurai (ca. 1726) by Torii Kiyonobu (1664 - 1729). Handcolored and decorated with brass dust [1].

Portrait of actor Sakata Hangorō I playing the role as Yamada Saburo (ca. 1760) by Torii Kiyomitsu (1735 - 85). Printed in two colors and inscribed with a poem. The family crest or mon appears on the costume of the actor for identification. [1].

"Returning sails of town rack" (ca. 1768) by Suzuki Harunobu (1724 - 70). From the series "Eight Views of the Parlour". A tool flapping on a bamboo rack was licked to the billowing sails of a boat returning to harbour [1].

"A pair of lovers reading a letter" (ca. 1768) by Suzuki Harunobu (1724 - 70). The scene probably alludes to the famous letter-reading in the Chushingura ("Tale of the 47 Ronin") drama. The fact that the women portrayed in the print has her obi or sash tied at the front indicates that she is a courtesan [1].

"Courtesan watching her maids build a snow dog, 1768, by Suzuki Harunobu (1724 - 70). The depiction of snow scenes was a subject favoured by many print designers, including Harunobu. It provided a challenge for the portrayal of areas of white to denote the snow, usually carried out by reserving the paper in its natural "white" color, and supplied some interesting color contrast [1].

Unidentified actors playing a pair of lovers, ca. 1780, by Katsukawa Shunshō (1726 - 92). Two sheets of a triptych.

[1] J. Hutt, Japanese Prints, Studio Editions Ltd, London (1996).

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Art of Zandra Rhodes
Wearable Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The exuberant sensuality and sexual permissiveness of the late 1960s - when Portabello Road had supplanted Carnaby Street and Kensington became the heart of the fashion revolution - is inculcated in the fashion expanse of Zandra Rhodes.

Portobello Road (1967).
Photograph courtesy of Frank Habricht.

Zandra Rhodes graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1964 – a key moment in the history of fashion. Mary Quant, Sally Tuffin, John Bates and company, created new fashion shoots that stripped away middle class pretentiousness and so created fashion that celebrated the youthful body. After all, the birth control pill was now widely dispensed and so women could reclaim their bodies and their sensualities without human penalty. Fashion was steered toward art and art became wearable.

John Bates (with models) at Jean Varon Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

By 1968 Brigid Keenan wrote in Nova magazine:
”Fashion is experiencing one of its most interesting dilemmas of its history. There is a state of anarchy”.

The “top-down” theory of fashion (haute couture fashion dumbs down into the street-ware) was quickly supplanted with a “down-to-up” theory (street-ware informs haute couture). It was the age of “Aquarius” and so the age of dissent - from anti-Vietnam demonstrations in the USA to a series of student occupation protest in France against capitalism, consumerism and traditional institutions, values and order.

The May 1968 Paris student riots. A part of the impact was on fashion.

The youth that embrace “unrest” wore cloths of dissent. Jeans, tea shirts (now called tees), sandals, bandanas and wristbands etc. were commonplace. Some women embrace baldness and some men embrace bum length hair. Nothing was sacred along the sex divide - the uni-sex look had arrived!

In the 1960s manufacturers started to make different styles of jeans to match the 60s fashions which included embroidered jeans, painted jeans, psychedelic jeans etc. These styles were a huge part of the fashion and culture.

Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes launched her first solo collection in 1969. She had trained as a textile designer. As a fashion designer, she was self-taught. She was driven by her vision that creating a print and garment was a single creative experience and pursuit. She is didactic and so is missionary in her exploration of fashion. She wrote:
”I really want the people who will come to my exhibition to go away understanding how I work. So we will take them through the process of design, of making a silk screen and choosing dye colors, of cutting the garment from the printed fabric, sewing it and then adding all the signature details like slashing, the pinking, the reverse seams”.

Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes opens the Bermondsey Street Festival (2010).

Her two-dimensional designs must come to life in a three-dimensional garment.
“First of all”, she says, “Having drawn the design, I think ‘Do I like the pattern?’ Then, I try the paper on myself and have a look at it on the big scale. I’m thinking of the print making a statement for the garment, rather than the garment just chopping into the print”.

Zandra in the print room (2004).
Courtesy of reference [1].

She has a natural sense theatre and is courageous and confident enough to display it in her garments. After all in her era, rock and theatre were combined by the likes of David Bowie et al. and yet fashion, art and theatre had found no common ground in fashion except for her work.

”I found out”, she says, ”from my earliest experiments in the world of textile design, that I was like no one else and fitted into nobody else’s shoes. That meant that all along I was the best promoter and advertisement for my cloths. So since I did a new look every six months, I had to change my appearance every six months. I used myself as a canvas with no compromises.”

Zandra and Ben Scholten (head of design) reviewing a newly printed fabric (2004).
Courtesy of reference [1].

Although she travels a good deal to promote her brand, she lives most of the time on the Pacific ocean from in Del Mar, just outside La Jolla California, with her partner of eighteen years, Salah Hassanein, the ex-president of Warner Brothers Theatres.

“If it was not for him”, she says “I would be here in Britain all the time. I am a British designer.”

Zandra Rhodes and Salah Hassanein.

The generation of fashion designers she belong to, spawned the next generation of designers like Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCarthy.

“The cloths are like your children that you re-discover; they evoke memories as you press them… Some are now 30 years old and half the people who are going to see them didn’t live through these adventures”.

Coat in “Chevron Shawl” print (1970).
Comment[1]: The print “Chevron Shawl” is a stylized fringed shawl on unbleached calico. The edges of the fringe are cut out and stitched around to show the print on either side. The calico is bagged out and quilted. On the body the tasselled fringe drapes downward.

There are plenty of people who are hooked on Zandra Rhodes not because of sentimental memories of an era passed, but rather because of her continual re-affirmation that individuality, creativeness and being oneself is a much truer trajectory in life than mass marketing oneself.

“I have had several tries at the mass market” she admits, “but what I do had to be done well and expensively. I cannot really price my work for the mass market”.

The Art of Zandra Rhodes

Jacket, 1970 style.
Comment[1]: Jacket and skirt in shocking pint silk chiffon printed with “Chevron Shawl) print. When on the body the tasselled feather fringe hangs downwards and moves freely like a real fringe. The print is of a stylized shawl with fringe. The points are trimmed with white feathers and all edges are hand colored.

Dress, 1970.
Comment[1]: Dress in black silk chiffon printed with “Indian Feather Sunspray” print in turquoise, ginger and cobalt blue. The center seam flutes because the seams are on the outside and the scallops of the print have been cut out to form a cascade. The sleeves are made by cutting around the large feather sunsprays. All edges are hand-rolled.

Dress, 1973.
Comment[1]: Dress in white with “Spiral Shell” and “Reverse Lily” prints. It has been cut out along the curve of the “Reverse Lily” print for the yolk seam and around the inside of the shell spirals. This causes the dress to fall in narrow fishtails at the sides and the line of the “Reverse Lily” print suppliers the bust detailing.

Dress, 1970.
Comment[1]: Dress in yellow printed with “Indian Feather Sunspray”. The skirt hangs in tiny featherlike fronds because the printed feather in the sunspray have been cut around. The feather motif is emphasized by the giant ostrich feather hanging from the ethnic inspired velvet bodice. All edges are hand-rolled.

Waistcoat, 1970.
Comment[1]: Waistcoat in “Chevron Shawl” print in cream silk with an ethnic inspired quilted silk yoke. The body is created from two exact repeats of the “Chevron Shawl” print. The “V” shape of the body is formed by the edge of the print and the tasselled fringe is emphasized by the natural brown cock feathers.

Coat, 1971.
Comment[1]: Coat dress is quilted cream satin in “Button Flower” print. The skirt is made from 13 complete circles. Circular skirt with patterned arranged in three rows. The first consisting of one circle, the second of three circles and the third of nine circles.

Kaftan, 1970.
Comment[1]: Short kaftan in white silk chiffon printed with cobalt, ginger and turquoise in “Indian Feather Sunspray”. The edges of this square cut shape are cut out along the lines of the print. The center front fabric at the bust and hem hang down in front of the garment because the edges of the feathers in the print have been cut out. All edges are hand-rolled.

Jacket (front), 1971.

Jacket (back), 1971.
Comment[1]: Jacket in cream and pink in “Spiral Shell” print. The jacket drapes in curves because the underarm seams follow the lines dictated by the print. The base of the jacket is gathered into the contained line of the edge quilting.

[1] G. Monsef, D. Nothdruff and R. de Niet, Zandra Rhodes – A lifelong Love Affair With Textiles, Zandra Rhodes Publications (2009).

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This is the seventy-eight post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fabric Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements
Crêpe Fabrics
Crêpe Effect Fabrics
Pile Fabrics - General
Woven Pile Fabrics
Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics
Knit-Pile Fabrics
Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes
Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms
Napped Fabrics – Part I
Napped Fabrics – Part II
Double Cloth
Multicomponent Fabrics
Knit-Sew or Stitch Through Fabrics
Finishes - Overview
Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning

The Glossary of Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements and the Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms have been updated in order to better inform your art practice.

If you find any post on this blog site useful, you can save it or copy and paste it into your own "Word" document etc. for your future reference. For example, Safari allows you to save a post (e.g. click on "File", click on "Print" and release, click on "PDF" and then click on "Save As" and release - and a PDF should appear where you have stored it). Safari also allows you to mail a post to a friend (click on "File", and then point cursor to "Mail Contents On This Page" and release). Either way, this or other posts on this site may be a useful Art Resource for you.

The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!

Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Desizing is the process of removing the sizing on the warp yarns. A desizing substance, sulfuric acid or an enzyme, solubilizes the starch, which is then completely removed by washing.

Degumming or boil-off are terms used to describe the desizing of silk. Silk is woven "in the gum" with the sericin forming the protective, covering for the silk filaments. Boiling off consists of washing in caustic solution. Boil-off is also used as a desizing operation for the man-made fibers.

Washing removes the sizing, dirt, and oil spots. Kier boiling of cotton in an alkaline solution, sometimes combined with bleaching, is done in a pressure kier, which resembles a large pressure cooker. The boil is done from 2 to 14 hours depending on the type of goods, results desired, and the strength of the alkaline solution. After boiling, cold water is pumped in and the goods are rinsed until cool.

High pressure blow-through kier.

Scouring of wool fabric is necessary to remove warp sizing, oils used in spinning, and dirt or grease acquired in weaving. Heavy and medium weight woollens are washed as a continuous rope of cloth in a continuous piece washer. Light weight fabric and clear finished worsted (those in which the weave shows clearly) are washed full width in a broad washer. These fabrics are liable to crease when washed in rope form.

Singeing is the burning of free projecting fiber ends from the surface of the cloth. These protruding ends cause roughness, dullness, pilling and interfere with finishing. Singeing is the first finishing operation for all smooth finished cotton fabrics and for clear finished wool fabrics. Fabrics containing heat-sensitive fibers such as polyester/cotton blends are often singed after dyeing because the little melted balls on the ends the fibers may cause unevenness in color. Singeing is usually done by a gas-flame singer. The fabric is first run open width over a heated roll to dry it, after which it is run at high speed through a gas flame and into a water bath to extinguish any sparks. The water bath may contain the desizing agent.

When the fabrics are cleaned and ready for further finishing, the order of the application and the kind of finish applied varies with the fiber content of the fabric.

[1] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd Edition, MacMillan Company, London (1968).

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Crewel Work or Old English Crewel Embroidery
Works on Cloth

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Introduction [1-2]
Crewel embroidery conjures up images of rich, free-flowing designs, often incorporating flowers, leaves and fruit. Its distinguishing characteristic is the worsted woolen yarn used.

Crewel threads.

The word "crewel" is believed tp have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon cleow (later clew and cruel) meaning a ball of thread.

Crewel work was especially popular during the 17th Century in England and the 18th Century in America, although far earlier examples still exist, notably the 11th Century Bayeux Tapestry.

Bayeux Tapestry.

An important influence on the development of crewel work was the growth of trade with the orient during the 17th Century, when needle work women were inspired by the beautiful Indian and Chinese embroideries. The "tree of life" designs that became a traditional feature of crewel work were introduced to England from India during this time.

Tracing pattern for family tree.

In both England and America, bed curtains, covers and cushions were the most common items chosen for this form of decoration. Crewel embroidery can still be applied successfully to such items as well as to pictures and wall hangings.

An early 18th-Century example of English crewel work seen in this detail from a bed hanging.

Cover for a stool by Mourna Sturrock, Melbourne (Australia) 1980s.
Photograph courtesy of J. Millowick.

Crewel work is sometimes known as Stuart or Jacobean work.

Basic Materials

Even weave linen or linen twill are the traditional fabrics for crewel work, but any firmly woven cloth is suitable, such as heavy cotton, with threads that can be separated from a needle.

Choose the yarn to suit the fabric and to achieve the texture required. Crewel yarn itself is quite fine, but several strands can be used together for bolder stitches on fine to medium fabrics. Tapestry yarn can also be used to similar effect. For coarse fabrics, use rug or knitting yarn.

Use a crewel or chenille needle that will make an opening in the fabric just large enough for the thread to pass through without breaking the fabric weave. Tapestry needles are useful for stitches woven on the surface of the fabric.

Most of the stitches used in embroidery are suitable for crewel work and it is very satisfying to develop the skill of choosing the right stitches for different motifs. An embroidery frame, though not necessary for all stitches, is essential for some such as crouching.

Some stitches used in crewel work.

Jacobean or Trellis
This filling stitch is traditionally used for the centres of flowers or for shapes where an open lattice effect is required. Take long, evenly spaced stitches across the space horizontally and vertically or diagonally and secure with one stitch (shown) or a cross stitch at each intersection.

Jacobean Couching or Trellis.

Some Crewel Creations

Screen of Crewel Embroidery by Sarah Squire Todd.
Hobart (Australia) ca. 1920.
Collection Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Photograph courtesy of L. Zeeng.

A quiet moment of a young Geisha woman quietly arranging flowers is forever captured for the crewel embroidery artist in Pat Zitomer’s "Oriental Arranging Flowers".

Crewel Work Artist unidentified New England, probably Massachusetts.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Ralph Esmerian.

Petticoat border American (New England) 1758.
Accession Number 40.571 Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Crewel Embroidery (England), 18th Century.

Beautiful Jacobean Crewel Embroidery using Gold Metallic Thread.
Victoria and Albert Museum.

17th Century Crewel Embroidery: Lemons.
Victoria and Albert Museum.

[1] J. Isaacs, The Gentle Arts, Ure Smith Press, Sydney (1991).

[2] Creative Crafts Encyclopedia, Octopus Books, London (1977).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Shishu (Japanese Embroidery) [1]
Art Essay

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Embroidery is an ancient form of decoration that was introduced to Japan in the sixth century. A Chinese embroiderer was brought to Japan by Kibi no Makabi, a Buddhist priest, on his return from China. That Chinese craftsman became the first nuimonoshi - a person who embroiders textiles in many colored threads. At the beginning, embroidery was used to apply additional decoration to the woven and dyed cloth, but later embroidered design was used as an alternative for achieving the same effect as brocade, and was considered very valuable.

Embroidered Shakyamuni preaching to the disciples surrounding him.
Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), China.
National Treasure [1].
Courtesy of Tokyo National Museum.

Shishu (Japanese Embroidery)[1]
The oldest embroidered cloth in Japan, Tenjukoku Mandala (Heavenly Paradise Mandala), in Chuguji temple at Nara, is a silk ra executed during the first part of the seventh century. Only a small piece of the original embroidered silk remains intact. It is in the form of Chinese characters stitched in parallel lines of twisted silk thread on the backs of two tortoises.

As early as the Jōmon period (14,000 – 300 BC) people used fishbone needles for simple stitchery. By the seventh, creative stitching decorated ceremonial robes for the emperor and nobility. However most of the early embroideries were used for Buddhist banners, sewn by friends and relatives of the deceased for the purpose of helping them along their way to heaven.

Artist Unknown: Ladies-in waiting. Year 622.
Medium: Silk thread on gauze and twill.
Subject Tenjukoku 天寿国, "The Land of Infinite Life".
Dimensions: 89 cm × 83 cm (35 in × 33 in).
Designation: National Treasure of Japan.
Location: Nara National Museum, Nara.

During the Muromachi Period (1336 - 1573), embroidery was used as a substitute for expensive brocades. This versatile form of fabric decoration appeared on kosode and Noh costumes, which glittered with nuihaku (the combination of embroidery and imprinted gold or silver leaf). The softer silks of the Momoyama period (1568 – 1600) were embellished with stitchery, using untwisted silk and gold or silver thread to create small, simple designs.

Back of kosode (short-sleeved kimono) with alternating blocks of flowers and plants in embroidery and gold leaf. Momoyama Period (1568 – 1600).

By the end of this affluent era, embroidery had reached its height. Under the patronage of Toyotomi Hidewyoshi, fabulous Noh costumes and kimono entirely covered with embroidered designs were created.

In the isolation of the Edo period (1603 - 1868) embroidered motifs became more Japanese in style and the popularity of this decoration increased. Embroidery was in such high demand that one shogun ordered thirty-two elaborate embroidered kimono's over a period of sixteen years.

Gorgeous embroidery work on a black rinzu kosode with motifs of pine, bamboo. chrysanthemums, rippling water, snowy herrons and baskets in rich colors. Family crest is done by gold couching.
Edo period (1603 - 1868).
Courtesy of the Tokyo National Museum.

With a thinner thread careful couching is done over the silver or gold thread [1].

Embroidered forewomen's headgear with gold thread couching.
Edo period (1603 - 1868).
Courtesy of the Tokyo National Museum.

The popularity of this decorative form soon declined, because of its extravagance, and moreover, the simpler and less expensive method of appliqué emerged.

Magnificant Noh costume embroidered all over with exceptionally dainty autumn-flower motifs on a black background.
Courtesy of Eisei Bunko collection [1].

Flying birds, weepy cherry tree in bloom, and ocean wave on an obi by Shizuka Kusano.

Roundels of plum, chrysanthemum, pine, maple, peony, bamboo and bellflower in a basket pattern by Mitsuko Kashimura [1].

Lower part of a kimono embroidered in motifs of pretty flowers, grass, and shippo tsunagi (interlocking rings) in bright colors by Shizuka Kusano.

Japanese embroidery employs several stitches, some of which are: French knot (sagaranumi, dating from the Nara period (710 to 794 AD); the outline satin stitch (nuikiri); back-stitch outline (matsuinui); satin stitch (warinui); and long couched stitches (watashinui). The gold or silver thread used for couching is made by wrapping silk thread with gold and silver covered paper. This thread is applied to the fabric by stitching it down with a very thin filament. Couching is used to highlight dyed kimono and to apply the family crest (kamon) used on the outer garments for family identification.

For obi embroidered with different techniques by Hyakutei Hashio. The flowers appeared as if they have been dyed rather than stitched[1].

[1] S. Yang, and R.M. Narasin, Textile Art of Japan, Shufunotomo, Tokyo (1989).