Thursday, June 23, 2016

Blowin' in the Wind...

Koinobori and Kumihimo... say those two words fast! It just happened that I'm working on these two Japanese crafts, both of which are new to me. The first- Koinobori- is a type of wind sock known as "carp streamers." The wind socks are the symbol of an annual Japanese Children's Day. They're flown on the spring holiday to express hope for health and strength for children. This Koinobori was a project we made during a Fiber Art Bee workshop held recently. The Goat Girls from Goatfeathers Studio taught us to use a glue resist technique to make fanciful designs on cotton fabric, let the glue dry, and then paint the fish with acrylic paints.

Once dry, we washed out the glue, stitched the sides and tail, and added hanging apparatus. The Koinobori are suspended from a swivel hook so they move freely in the breeze. I hung mine in a grove of trees and then had a hard time getting a photo of it at rest- it moves almost constantly.

You can just see the faint blue lines of the Elmer's Gel Glue on the cotton shape in the photo above. We placed the wet piece on freezer paper, and set it out to "fry" in the sunny driveway, weighted by wood pieces so the projects did not become airborne too soon. 

These sample projects greeted us as we entered the studio. The smallest turquoise one at the lower right was made from a toilet paper roll and colorful tissue paper. Our projects were smaller than the fabric examples here so that we could get them completed in the time allotted. We learned two other techniques during our full-day workshop, and I'll share those in another post. I'm happy to have my Koinbori finished and flying in the breeze. It's a happy sight out in the grove.

The second craft I learned is Kumihimo- the Japanese art of braiding decorative cords. I had seen a demo on this at a quilt show some years ago and found it intriguing. But it's only recently that I gave it a try. You can see some sample cords I made using yarn and nylon at the lower left. The round foam disc is the loom on which the braid is created. What convinced me to try this craft was a kit by Primitive Originals Kumihimo I purchased at another quilt show- it contained the beautiful stainless steel cross and the cord to make the necklace. The instructions were clear and the project was pretty easy. My next challenge will be to add beads and make an even more decorative cord.

The grove behind our home is several degrees cooler than the yard, and has lots of vegetation that needs to be tamed from time to time. It's the place where I hang prayer flags and other fiber projects like the wind sock. This grouping of prayer flags is titled "Tribute to Big Mother". You can see close-up photos of the flags here.  The grove also has this pretty flowering tree which I thought was called a rain tree, but a web search shows is a mimosa. While beautiful and delicate, the mimosa is considered an invasive plant in Florida and can cause some landscaping problems. So it may have to go at some point.

But meanwhile our little rescue dog Abby loves her free time in the grove. She has a fenced yard to keep her safe, but she is allowed some time on the loose each day. She's very good about heading out to "her" grove where she plays happily with her yellow toy. You may be able to see it on the ground in front of her. Abby has some unusual "quirks" and one of them is that she's unable to have many toys as she can destroy them in a matter of minutes (she's also a hoarder, carrying off items to her crate or bed). Soft toys are out, and she would so love to have one. But I've found a dog toy called "Goughnuts" that she cannot destroy. She has several of these and can chase, fetch, and roughhouse with them to her heart's content. Abby has gained in health and in good behavior. I'm glad to say she's come a very long way!