Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Back to Work

Last week after finishing the hana kanzashi I received some tragic news, that my husband's lovely grandmother had passed.  We attended her funeral in New Mexico, for which I had to close up shop for a few days. 
During that time I also had a few life changes, my son will be starting day care full time and I am going to get a part time job to help cover the costs.  Kanzashi is my passion, and I will continue to do it in my free time, but I anticipate being hired quickly for the holiday season. And it will take some adjusting to work out energy and schedules and family.

Now, I have begun to work on the tiara.  I am 2 medium flowers in, and using a new supply, a thin 26gauge wire instead of 22g. I have always considered this wire to be too thin, but after wrapping them all they become unwieldy and fat.  Additionally they add a lot of weight for larger pieces.
The manual I recently acquired (written in Japanese, so there is a bit of translation to be done) uses something as small as a 28g.  But I have my doubts about the sturdiness of using something that light.  The 26g should give me the lighter weight and smaller bundles I have been trying to achieve with the new wrapping method. Also it should be noted that since kanzashi is traditionally made in silk, and most commonly habotai silk, it is much lighter weight than chirimen rayon.  Especially since I do most of the medium to large flowers in double petals. 

So far the medium to large flowers of the tiara will be identical to that of the hana kanzashi. Same blue to white ratio, with pearl stamens in each petal in plum blossom style, with the new gold spiral centers.  Pearl stamen groups have been taped together and are ready for wrapping.  I have a few extra pieces here and there from prototypes such that I might try to work in.  But they will mostly be filler and not a large part of the design.  Oh! And the butterflies.  Cant forget those! So alot of the work is already done really.  I'd guess about 1/3 of the way through flower creation phase. Then its wrapping and building the frame and mounting. 
Honestly, I can't believe I am really going to try and do this.  I have always considered it out of my reach, because my methods were off.  I admit I have fumbled through kanzashi like a child, mashing colors and fudging methods and screwing up left and right.  I have actually taken down a few pieces I had for sale recently because I went back and looked at them and said "Wow, this wiring job kinda sucks." (they are on the to do list for repairs).  So if I can get this new method to work with the materials I have, I think I would feel much more comfortable about doing trade shows and anime conventions.  Really getting my product out there, because I am starting to finially feel like its getting good enough to really sell. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hana Kanzashi Complete!!!

Finally finished the hana kanzashi!
The grouping is a little crowded/tight, but overall at my first attempt at a traditional wiring, it went really well.  These are just some shots I took as soon as I was done, but I will take some better ones as soon as the tiara is finished. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wire Wrapping

So, I have begun wire wrapping the different flowers and pearl stamens for the hana.  This is a pretty long, meticulous process.  I took several different shots, though, to include in my how to guide.  Wire wrapping is an essential part to mounting traditional japanese kanzashi pieces.  Since you can not use glue to fasten wire on wire, masters would wrap their stems and wires in silk thread for the glue to adhere to.  Then it is wrapped again to fasten two wires completely.  Since this kind of silk is expensive and as far as I know inaccessible, I substitute with a 2 ply nylon thread.  This is also the same thread I used for the shidare. The stem is wrapped about 6 - 8 inches down, so you use a lot of thread.  But the trick is, to twist the kanzashi and let the thread wrap itself, instead of wrapping the thread around the kanzashi in loops.  This keeps your thread line clean of knots and straight, white making the process go much faster.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hana Design

So this is just about the final design for the hana kanzashi.  I have decided to only add one butterfly, and some pearl flower stamens in between the flowers to give it some filler. I also have the three shidare tiers finished.  The next step would be to create and wrap the wires, including the shidare frame.  Then it is mounting and moving on to the creation of the tiara. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013


One of my downfalls is that I over analyze everything.  And strengths. 
So I worked really hard last night on a piece I might still use later, but still I was not satisfied in using it as the focal point of the hana kanzashi.  It was too busy, as I was still trying to incorporate as many colors as possible.  I was trying too many new patterns and it showed.  They were sloppy and unbalanced. 
I took a step back and hit a final decision on the piece, with blue and white flowers and scrapping the incorporation of every color on every piece.  The butterflies and leaf accents will carry enough of the red and yellow while the flowers focus on the predominate colors of pearl and blue.  I will also be keeping the gold spiral center, a common technique in Japanese kanzashi.  A new pick up from that book I got back in April of this year. 

The main point is, I made a decision and have direction, the rest of the piece will come more easily and the real work can begin.