NEW THIS WEEK - January 11th, 2006:
Fans of Japan
Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, is a land of rich
cultural heritage, natural beauty, and deep spirituality. Japanese art in all
its forms is steeped in elegant traditions and symbolism. The imagination of
Japanese artists and craftsmen was destined to transform even the most
practical objects into things of beauty.
Designs this week are inspired by the grandeur, color,
and harmony of spirit the Japanese found in nature and emulated in all
Decorative little fans, designed to look like the
ingenious, traditional Japanese folding fan, will be so satisfying to
make, you won't be able to stop sewing them. It's another sew-in-the-hoop
project with a very special twist.
Panel scenes let you sew large scenes with framed
pieces. Experience the harmony, peace, and tranquility of a garden of geishas,
or the energy and excitement of performers in Kabuki theatre.
Beautiful Japanese vases are sought by collectors from 'round the world, and
new floral designs depict a dragon, bamboo, and a hawk on vases with colorful
flowers shooting from the top. And, teeny-tiny miniature designs are perfect
for all those little spots, from the cuffs of your socks to the collars on your
shirts. New miniature designs (just $1 each!) feature a fan, geisha,
ninja, bonsai, pagoda, dragon, koi, Maneki Neko, and more--to add a splash of
Japan. Now take a trip with us to the Land of the Rising Sun, and enjoy the new
The Art of the Geisha
Long a symbol of Japan, geishas are
professional entertainers who perform traditional dances and music in
teahouses. Artists who spend years training for performance, they are
like living history, continuing to faithfully perform the traditions Japan's
rich heritage and traditions. Geishas learn the ancient dances, sacred tea
ceremonies, flower arranging, and traditional instruments, and over
they have become cultural icons themselves, representing the beauty and
exquisite nature of Japan.
Like a Japanese screen, four design panels unfold a story of a
tranquility in which geishas linger in a meditative setting under cherry trees,
surrounded by the harmony of the natural beauty of flowers, cranes, and a
flowing stream. Each design tells a lovely story of its own, but three or four
sewn together in sequence make a beautiful effect. The image below shows
the four panels arranged
together in a lovely scene.
A girl who wishes to become a geisha
spends her youth at a "maiko" house, where she becomes an apprentice
and learns the skills and emotional sincerity of Japanese traditions and
customs--the tea ceremony, the art of arranging flowers, creating music with a
variety of instruments, and singing and dancing in traditional
performances. The four images below depict the separate panels, which you
can embroider and use in individual projects, or arrange together as shown
Geishas, recognizable by their white
faces, dark eyes, and red lips, linger by calm waters.
Although thought to have been founded by a shrine maiden, Okuni, who
introduced a lively dance style to the ancient capital of Kyoto, Kabuki was to
develop its art form without a woman's touch. From the 17th century on, women
were forbidden to participate in this traditional form of entertainment, for
fear of corrupting public morals. All female roles are played by male actors
call onnagata. But the beauty of the onnagata is one of the distinctive
features of a Kabuki performance.
Like a folding screen, the four design panels sewn
together or displayed in sequence, reveal
the breadth of Kabuki actors and musicians in a colorful array of poses.
Kanji, the form of writing that originated in China, expresses
concepts and emotions in pictographic "characters." In Japan, Kanji
was combined with Japanese syllable writing (kana) to form a unique character
set. Japanese calligraphers began to use a brush and ink to create the
characters. The control offered by brush strokes allowed for variations in
thickness and tone in the drawing of each character, creating individual
expressions of spiritual depth and extraordinary beauty.
Want to see more? Click here
to see designs released in previous weeks!