While I’ve been working on smaller pieces the last few weeks, I’ve also been working on and off on a two piece set of January kanzashi. One of the motifs for January is the crane, which is also one of my favorite birds. I’ve made a crane once before, but was happy to get the chance to make another. I feel like this second crane is actually much nicer looking, and shows how much I’ve progressed the last two years.

I made the smaller piece first, which has a two layer aster, pine leaf and two plum blossoms. I’ve been using up a large set of rhinestones I bought ages ago. I never thought I’d use them all up, but now that I’ve been producing so many pins it seems like I might actually need to pick up more of them.

The second piece is one of the largest kanzashi I’ve made. It has a crane, three two toned plum blossoms, six pink plum blossoms, two pine leaves, three double layered asters and a fluttering bira-bira.

I learned a lot from this project. One of the things I had the most difficulty with before was binding. Traditionally, silk thread is used to bind the little “bouquet” of flowers to the hair fork. I wasn’t sure exactly how it worked, but I decided to first tape the bouquet to the fork with double sided tape before binding them together with embroidery thread.

I felt bad at first; like I was somehow cheating. Then, when I was studying one of the kanzashi I bought in Japan I saw a little piece of tape poking out from under the silk threads. I could tell it was tape because of the telltale pinked edge made by the tape dispenser’s blade. I also noticed that the threads have a layer of glue over the top to add durability and, I would guess, keep the threads from shifting. It made me feel better, and realize that regardless of the materials and tricks you use, what matters is that you achieve a beautiful end result.

I don’t have a huge collection of kanzashi from Japan, but I might make a post at some point showing them off and maybe discussing a little bit about where I bought them from.

So far I’ve made asters, camellias and plums blossoms. Which one is your favorite?