Tsumami kanzashi flowers galore!

A few weeks ago I discovered Tsumami Kanzashi - a technique to fold fabric squares into flower petals. I found this excerpt on PuchiMaiko.com,

The word “Tsumami” means to pinch – specifically, pinching a square piece of fabric to form a shape. The word “Kanzashi” means hairpin. Tsumami Kanzashi is a traditional Japanese art form that dates back over 200 years. Tsumami kanzashi is most often seen worn by maiko (apprentice geisha) and young girls for shichi-go-san celebrations however, with the revival of traditional arts, and a younger generation appreciating them – tsumami kanzashi have become quite a fashionable accessory to be worn both with contemporary clothing and kimono.

Mrs. Graham-Diaz is an excellent authority on Japanese Geisha, and their traditions; as well as a major inspiration to me! Her tsumami flowers are what really drove me to learn the "pinching" technique, and although I don't use traditional methods as she does, I hope I can still honor Japanese tradition!

My method differs from the traditional in that I don't use rice paste to glue the petals together. I start by sewing the petals together in a circle, then I glue a circle of fleece or felt to the back with fabric glue. I use different tools to get a more angled or flat appearance to the petals. I also don't use habotae silk, as it's not what I have on hand. I use scraps from all sorts of projects, cotton denim, twill, silk charmeuse. If I've got enough scrap fabric left over, it's going to end up as tsumami flowers! LOL I finish with a button, the centers can look very messy and I like them to look neat.

Some fabric works much better than others for the pinching technique, I've found medium weight tencel twill to be too slippery for my smallest 1" petals. Silk charmesue was a challenge, but definitely worth it - it's got such a lustrous sheen to it. Double petals, with an inner color and a different outer, are also much more challenging. I must say though, that I really enjoy working on these flowers. They are exciting and sometimes difficult, but ultimately so satisfying.

If anyone is interested, here are a few tsumami kanzashi links -

  • Puchi Maiko - Small accessories inspired by the art of geisha, maiko and traditional Japan.
  • Ganjin Geisha - Gallery of wonderful kanzashi!
  • Maya Doll - Amazing kanzashi for sale - watch out, they're pricey! :)
  • Kanzashi movies - #13 Edo hair ornaments: actual craftsman using traditional techniques. This one is ABSOLUTELY worth the time! (5 movies, a few minutes each)

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