Yesterday I had a trip over to the Welsh border (almost), to Ludlow to be exact. If you are in the area it is a lovely market town with just about every other house having a blue plaque. It is the absolute epitomy of a historic English market town, buildings all higgledy piggledy and from Medieval to modern, a market in the square, flags and bunting flying, not forgetting the castle at the top of the hill.
The actual reason for visiting was to meet with a person I had crossed paths with a couple of months ago.
I happened to mention whilst at a talk that I could see that the gilding on a kimono in the Embroiderers' Guild Collection was very different to other examples I had seen previously and that I was intrigued.
Julia D Grey is a lady who has the privilege of studying Japanese stitch and gilding techniques with a master craftsmen. She has written a book about the stitching techniques 'Traditional Japanese Embroidery: Techniques and Designs'.
The gilding is typically exacting and careful as with many other Japanese art and crafts, taking years to perfect and the secrets are still held closely.
The masters use glue, instruments and methods which are distinctive and different to those found in Western gilding. The application of the gold and silver leaf is complex, exacting and beautifully executed. The finishing methods allow the fabric to remain unchanged in handle and perfect for combining with the stitch work.
Julia is one of the few people to have been taught these details and I was most grateful to her for showing me her work and taking time to explain some of the details. My appreciation of the work is much richer now, so, thank you Julia.