Confession, followed by Action
I can’t remember how it all started, but some time ago I got bitten by the Sashiko bug.
Sashiko (刺し子, literally “little stabs” or “little pierce”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery from Japan that started out of practical need during the Edo era (1615-1868). Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, making the darned piece ultimately stronger and warmer, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth its distinctive appearance.
Perhaps it was the traditional indigo blue fabric that caught my eye or the traditional Japanese patterns that I already loved. To cut a long story short, I ordered some Sashiko challenges and books on Amazon.co.jp and set out to discover what Sashiko was all about.
Well, Sashiko is a long story and a world of possibilities which I eagerly liked to explore. Especially during our move from Ireland to the Netherlands, I needed a creative challenge that I could store in my backpack and pick up during moments of (relative) rest. In that aspect, Sashiko worked like a meditation for me. I started with simple pre-printed fabrics but hadn’t Sashiko worked like a calming meditation, I would have been disappointed. To follow pre-printed patterns was too easy for me, I thought. But, be aware, Japanese crafts aren’t easy. As soon had I finished a few coasters, I noticed a mistake! Bang.. I just received a blow with the Zen stick, on my non-geometrical ego. But surely I am forgiven as I am following visual instructions with Japanese texts and I can’t read Japanese!
I am stepping up my Sashiko creativity now. Next to working on a few more creative projects, I am now designing my own Sashiko composition using traditional Japanese patterns. (I will keep you posted on this). My goal is learning a lot in a short time span and then organising a Sashiko workshop. My other goal is, having lovely Sashiko table cloths that match with my indigo blue Tokyo tableware. Being Dutch, I love blue ceramics. And I can’t help but smile at the cleverness of Sashiko’s geometrical designs. Just when you think Sashiko is a no-brainer, you discover you can improve your efficiency and creativity. As I wrote, Sashiko is a world of possibilities.
Author, Artist & Expat
At mindfuldrawing at Instagram