With Anime North fast approaching (next week!) I’ve been keeping my nose to the grind stone. Of the eight new projects that I want to have finished for the show, I’ve only finished three so far – but the rest are well under way and nearing completion. This is the first of those eight projects – a hanagushi or floral comb.

I’ve always loved hanagushi, and since I’m always trying to push the envelope a little, I knew that when I finally did make a new hanagushi I wanted to explore shapes outside of the traditional elongated U. I’ve seen some fascinating Japanese kanzashi books depicting antique hair accessories, including combs. Not hanagushi exactly, but combs that are carved into shapes – like swirling waves.

I’ve explored the wave shape, and water in general, a few times through my tsumami zaiku work, but this time I decided to explore summery motifs in a slightly different way. This piece features iridescent pampas grass, a large white Queen of the Night flower – which only blooms at night – and a hotaru, or firefly. All summer time motifs, but not tied directly to water.

I wanted the piece to have the feel of a sunset – the pink and purple hues that bloom across the clouds as the sun sinks into the horizon line. I’m not entirely convinced I landed that feeling, as it gives me more of a tropical feel, but I still think the piece turned out rather well.

Another thing I’m really happy about with this piece is that I also gave the back side some attention (pictured above). A lot of hanagushi have plain back sides, because you’re not really going to see it when worn – or even when displayed. But, I wanted to make sure that the piece was interesting to look at from both sides, so I made sure to add some flowers, buds and leaves to the back as well.

Eventually, I’d really like to make a firefly piece in which the firefly lights up. I have some tiny little lights for this project, but I’m still debating the design.

Anyhoo, that’s all I’ve got for today folks. Check back again soon for more tsumami zaiku goodness!