Back in October, I was idly searching eBay for Japanese antiques, and I found a kanmuri for sale at a very reasonable price. So, I bought it. This one is not as old or as nice as my other one, but it was less expensive and is in better shape. I won’t be as afraid to wear it or lend it to others. However, it should still have a better storage container than the corrugated cardboard box in which it was shipped to me.
I made two separate boxes to hold the parts of the first kanmuri. This was partially because of the shape of the tail, and because the body of the first kanmuri does not break down into parts. This second one comes apart much better, so I could build a single flat box to hold the parts.
This kanmuri-bako is a simple rectangular, lidded box. The top and bottom are thin birch-faced plywood, and the edges are maple scants. I put a couple of coats of shellac on the outside for protection, but I left the inside unfinished so that the wood can absorb and release moisture as needed.
Inside, there is enough room that the pieces of the kanmuri can be individually wrapped to protect them from rubbing. There is actually enough room inside that I am able to store some other formal accessories in there to keep everything together. I can fit a shakuin the bottom, my sekitai, and my hirao. There’s probably enough room to add my gyotaiif I ever need to.
Because I just realized that I never posted to my blog about the first kanmuri, here is a picture of the assembled second kanmuri. the tail removes easily. When you remove the horizontal pin, from the hat part, the upright tube can also be removed.
The braid I used for Fancy Square Braid and Another Fancy Braid has these nice compressed inner threads, and it struck me that you could make those inner threads beaded, and the beads would be nicely couched in the braid. I had some “magatama” beads in my stash from the swag bag of the AKS conference in 2017, so I decided to try it.
I really like how it came out. There are a couple of “errors” in it, but I mostly recovered from them quickly so the overall braid was not disrupted. The magenta inner core on each bead makes a nice counterpoint to the different colors of blue thread I used for the other strands. The beads are strung on “S-Lon” beading cord, were kind of a challenge to get them well seated in their stitches, but I was able to work out a method eventually. The “magatama” beads have a teardrop shape, and are only on every other side stitch, which made it somewhat easier.
I was going to participate in a zoom conference with a bunch of braiders, but I realized that I did not have a braid set up to work on during the call. so, I measured out the silk, wound the tama, and worked on the braid. Then, I had another Zoom, and that gave me enough time to finish the braid.
It’s basically the same braid as the previous one, but the core and outer colors are reversed.
This is the second of a pair of recent replications of images from the Nanajuichiban Shokunin Uta-awaseemaki, a medieval Japanese scroll that depicts an imaginary poetry competition between artisans and artists of various types.
This emaki (illustrated scroll) depicts a poetry competition (uta-awase) among people of various occupations. The competition has 71 rounds, and 142 different kinds of craftspeople (shokunin) are depicted, each with their own poem. This image depicts a musician playing a small drum called a “ko-tzuzumi”, The heads of the drum are tensioned with rope. As she is depicted with a walking stick and zori sandals, she is most likely an itinerant musician.
I’m happier with the second copy, though realistic depictis of the drum appear to be somewhat beyond me. I’m intrigued by the thing where both this lady and the biwa player thread the walking stick through the straps of their sandals.
This is the first of a pair of recent replications of images from the Nanajuichiban Shokunin Uta-awaseemaki, a medieval Japanese scroll that depicts an imaginary poetry competition between artisans and artists of various types.
This emaki (illustrated scroll) depicts a poetry competition (uta-awase) among people of various occupations. The competition has 71 rounds, and 142 different kinds of craftspeople (shokunin) are depicted, each with their own poem. This image depicts a musician playing a stringed instrument called a “Biwa”, the strings are plucked with a fan-shaped plectrum. As he is depicted with a walking stick and geta sandals, he is most likely an itinerant musician.
You can see that I did a little bit of playing with color and composition, particularly the arrangement of the musician’s accoutrement. The first one is most true to the original scroll, but I like the way the green coloring came out on the second copy.
Here we go with that first pelican image I was talking about last week. I did four copies of this one. The first one is quite large, occupying most of a sheet of 9″x12″ paper.
The others are smaller, to leave more room on the page for writing.
This last one I rotated a bit to make it occupy even less of the page.
Traced from “Pelikan” by Christoph Schaarschmidt (2021). This photo was one of the top 50 photos in the CEWE photo awards competition of 2021. I saw this photograph of a pelican, and just thought it would make a good writ scroll or other recognition of service. The dignity of this noble bird shows through, as does the dignity of those who perform service in the society. I traced the photo and colored it in the “tsukuri-e” (built up paint) style.
I just realized that I never posted about the first set of pelican brushwork, but here is the second set of pelican images. The story here is that the “Order of the Pelican” is the SCA peerage order, much like a Knighthood is for fighting, but for service to the society. I saw a terrific photograph of a pelican in a page about “best wildlife photographs of 2021”, and I realized that the image would make a great Yamato-e scroll blank. Maybe not for a peerage, but maybe for a “writ”, an invitation to consider entry into the order. I thought that image came out OK, but I hunted down another image because I wanted one in flight …and here it is!
My paintings are derived from a photograph posted to Awesome Sasquatch in 2013 by Ken Chan. All credit, any vibrancy and splendor in my image is entirely based on his image.
Last week, we attended the “Armistice” event up at Cooper’s Lake Campground. Informally called “Pretendsic”, this was the event that the campground decided to run on their own after the SCA’s Pennsic War was cancelled again. It was a much smaller and informal version of a war, with no organized battles and many fewer classes. We did not even camp up there most nights, and brought all our own food. We spent a lot of time in camp braiding, and I completed these four braids.
All four braids were made using kute-uchi hand-loop braiding. The two inner braids are Mitake-gumi 10-loop rectangular braids, both using a single ply of acrylic yarn for each loop. The two outer braids are Maru-genji-gumi 16-loop round braids. The inner of the two uses a single ply of acrylic yarn for each loop, and the outer uses two plies of cotton crochet thread for each loop. To keep the loops together in bundles for the 2-ply braid, I used rope kute handles. These were all braided while seated on a bench, and I used my toes to beat the stitches if the braids were too long for manual tightening.
A few weeks ago, Sharon hosted an indigo dyeing activity at our home. Some people came over and we spent all day dunking fabric in dye pots. I did some small test pieces for various techniques, but I also twisted up some big pieces of silk broadcloth, and then I made this kosode from that fabric.
It looks kind of like an accident in a bleach factory, but closer up the indigo patterns are very organic and Rorshach-inkblot fascinating.
Choju squiga? A few weeks ago, there was a news story about a town in Japan that is attempting to kickstart tourism after the pandemic by installing a statue of a giant squid. Awesome, huh? I wanted to be able to use the image of the giant squid for my own purposes (porpoises?), so a quick trip to the paintbox later…
I’m happier with the tentacles on the second one, but I’m not completely happy with the shading on it.