Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kanzashi Fairy Godmother

Helen's first-ever outdoor selling event is less than a week away, and she's nervously trying to take care of details, but I wanted to tell you a fun little story of serendipitous luck which has already resulted in some lovely new kanzashi pieces!

Helen's friend Kas has a Japanese-Polish cousin who lived for a while in Japan.  Kas's cousin has a Japanese friend whose son attended an English language program in Madison, WI. Every weekend, he would come to stay with Kas and her husband, and do normal American family type things with them. Eternally grateful, Kas's cousin's Japanese friend has been sending Kas lavish gifts for years. Well as it turns out, the lady makes kimonos.

One day, Kas casually asked Helen if she would like some more fabric for making kanzashi, explaining that she has a Japanese friend who might have some of the stuff to send. Helen said sure. Then they both forgot all about it.

Until about 3 weeks ago, when a beautiful box stuffed with primo kimono remnants arrived in the mail. Gorgeous, colorful chirimen silk, silk linings, cotton remnants, obi scraps, silk that Helen doesn't know what to call or how to describe. Fabric that Helen can use and fabric that she's giving away to her friend Angela. For a kanzashi maker, this is like dying and going to heaven.

Just to show you how crazy beautiful some of these Japanese textiles are, I made Helen take some pictures. First, here's a remnant that Helen couldn't bear to cut up....it's going to Angela....

Photos cannot do it justice. At least, not Helen's photos. Similarly, here's a gorgeous piece that Helen also hates to cut up, but might anyway.....a big pattern with beautiful flowers. Here's a detail...

So. Helen wanted more colorful silk for making pendants,and that is what she received. Here are only the first six long ribbon necklaces...

Buy them this Saturday, August 17th, at the Walk for the Animals, benefiting the Washington County Humane Society here in Wisconsin. We'll be at Jackson Park, in the village of Jackson. All day.

There are so many more possibilities in that box full of fabric, so carefully packed by its sender. It's a silk candy store. Helen is so grateful to her kanzashi fairy godmother, somewhere in Japan, and planning on including a pendant for her in the next care package that Kas sends.


  1. Helen, how wonderful, the fabrics sound amazing and I know you will make equally amazing pieces from them.
    Isn't it lovely to have a 'Fairy Godmother', somehow it makes life happier and brighter. Enjoy creating to your hearts content.
    Good luck tomorrow.

    1. Thanks, Isabell! It turned out to be a disappointing experience, as the happy throngs of dog walkers did not show up, despite lovely weather.