Friday, December 19, 2008
I have been looking out the window at the recent snow, a rarity in our part of Oregon. The camellias in our Japanese garden are very old Camellia japonica, which grows quite large and is native to Japan. The leaves hold a lot of this wet snow. They bloom very early when the weather is still very cold. It always amazes me that any blossom so big and exotic could get its act together in winter.
The Japanese use camellias often in fabric design, most often the single variety, which has a clump of stiffly upright pistils in the center of the blossom. I have been cutting a small stencil to make a New Year’s card (I will never make it in time for Christmas cards), and later a fabric panel to frame and sell in these lean times. This stencil does not have the silk attached yet.
I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the huge variety of forms that the camellia takes in the work of the former owner of the Kyoto workshop I visited. He seemed to have a particular fondness for this simple blossom. The first image is a kimono with a definite springtime feel. The remaining are fabric details, ranging from stylized to realistic. I particularly like the last two, both with snow, but so very different from each other.