For Christmas last year, my brother and sister-in-law gave me these lovely books by Kumiko Sudo.

kumiko sudo books

kumiko sudo books

Kumiko Sudo is a Japanese fiber artist based in Eugene, Oregon.  You can see a few pictures and more of her books at Breckling Press.  She creates exquisite little bags and jewelry and odds-and-ends, using cotton, silk and wool felt in incredible colors — lots of vintage kimonos find a new home in her work.  Her sense of color and texture is amazing; she folds cloth like origami to create three-dimensional shapes and add depth.  So inspiring.  The books include instructions and patterns for photocopying.  I made these sweet little bags based on a pattern in Wagashi.

page from Wagashi

page from wagashi

"watermelon" bag
“watermelon” bags

Sudo recommends stitching everything by hand, so I did.  It’s rather cozy on a winter’s eve (I was huddled in front of a tv instead of a fireplace, I’m sad to say) but I don’t think I could handle hand-stitching on a permanent basis.  I realized when I made the first bag, on the right, that I had forgotten to include proper seam allowances, so I made the second on the left.  I love this design, especially the twisted handles.  These bags are so pretty but now I don’t know what to do with them.  They are actually too small to function as a purse; I can slip a debit card and lipstick into them, but that’s about it (no cell phone, no keys).  For now, they are hanging on my dressing room wall and I just admire them as I’m getting dressed.

I also made this funny ball.  Sudo’s are so elegant and perfect, while mine is a little bit wonky… 

japanese handballs from wagashi

japanese handballs from wagashi

my version

my version

…but the wonkiness suits me — I was having a particularly bad day and being really obsessive, so that evening, I wrote a secret message and put it inside the ball.  The idea was that I could throw the idea away from me and turn my obsession into something nice.  A little fabric voudou.  I put some scrabble letters inside too, so it rattles when you shake it. 

When my friend came by with her baby, little Iris had a good time playing with it, so the voudou must be working.  Come to think of it, I am over the obsession that prompted this voudou — though there are seven more to take its place.

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