I was surprised by the wonderful embroidery on the Kimonos and ceremonial gowns in the Japanese gallery. I was particularly impressed by the Flock of Cranes Gift Cover (fukusa) [Museum no. T.20-1923]. The rendition of the multiple images of the cranes was beautifully executed. To think that a humble tool such as a needle, combined with golden thread, in the hands of a craftsperson could result in such exquisite imagery, dynamic design and breath-taking skill was inspirational.
This piece inspired me to see if I could combine a needle and thread through the medium of etching. I thought of taking a line of thread for a walk through the pages of a book and see where it would lead me.
So taking the humble needle as my subject matter I created a series of six etchings depicting a needle. I combined the six etchings into a concertina-fold booklet bound with front and back hard covers.
I then ran a line of golden thread through the eyes of each of the needles ending at the end of its journey on the last page in the outline of a dove.
The V&A piece is an embroidered cloth cover used for the presentation of a special gift. So it is appropriate that my bound book is contained in a cover of its own. So I designed a cloth-covered slip case with a bird's footprints traversing its cover - executed in golden thread.
I have spent most of my career in the advertising industry and I have developed my art and craft skills in etching and bookbinding at various evening classes. The V&A is in itself a great inspiration, but the evening classes give me the space and facilities to experiment and broaden my creative, technical and craft skills under my tutor's guidance.
Satin silk with embroidery in silk and metallic thread
V&A collection reference number(s):
T.20-1923 Flock of Cranes Gift Cover