Thursday, July 7, 2011

Diane Gilleland ~ Kanzashi in Bloom



I ran across this book on Amazon the other day and was instantly hooked. 



It shows endless possibilities for folding fabric into lovely flowers of all shapes and sizes. 



You know how my mind works ~ I immediately saw thousands of applications for these pretty posies.



I emailed the author the lovely Diane Gilleland to ask a few questions about how she got into this art form.



Diane with her lovely book

Jackie ~ How did you first hear about this art form? 

Diane ~  I spend a lot of time looking at all kinds of crafts on the web. Somehow, somewhere I stumbled onto some images of Japanese Kanzashi. I was gobsmacked at how detailed and delicate they were, and I wanted to learn more. If you go to YouTube and search "Kanzashi," you can find a whole lot of interesting video showing the traditional Japanese way of making these flowers. But that process is way too exacting for me, so I set about trying all kinds of simpler methods until I'd developed a process that produced nice flowers without too much specialized skill or equipment.




Jackie ~  Can you give a quick history of its origins?

Diane  ~  The word "Kanzashi" actually translates from Japanese as "hair ornament." Kanzashi date back to the Edo period in Japan (roughly the 1600's), when there was a rather sudden change in hairstyle fashion. Women stopped wearing their hair long and loose, and started putting it up. All kinds of elaborate combs and pins began to emerge as Japanese artisans invented new adornments for these upswept styles.

Floral kanzashi have always been part of the Geisha culture in Japan. Geisha adorn their hairstyles with these flowers for public occasions. There are specific Kanzashi for each month of the year, too – you'll see Geisha wearing silk cherry blossoms in April and silk chrysanthemums in October. There's just a handful of master Kanzashi artisans left in Japan, but luckily there's a whole new generation of enthusiasts helping to keep this art alive.




Diane has also developed a product with Clover Needlecraft that makes the construction of these flowers so easy it ridiculous!




Watch this short video to see her demonstrate hoe to use the Kanzashi templates.



Isn’t that amazing? 



I’ve already ordered my book, now I have to track down some templates. 


* all pics courtesy of Dianne Gilleland


Rebecca Grace said...

Jackie, these are fabulous! I think I might be able to incorporate some of these into an awning and custom bedding that I'm working on for a client's little girl's bedroom right now. The little girl's mom spent several years living in Asia, and I know she'll love the Japanese influence behind these unusual rosettes. Thanks for yet another great inspiration!

Sandy said...

Jackie, you can get the templates from Clover. I ordered all six templates.

NR Designs said...

Thanks Jackie - I really enjoyed this blog. I, too, am going to check out this book. Please report if you find these templates (what a clever idea!)

Beadboard UpCountry said...

So amazing I can't believe it!!!!!!Very talented..... So when will you start offering them????????
Maryanne xo