What is Kanzashi?
Roughly speaking, Kanzashi means the traditional headdress of Japanese geishas and maikos. Originally it consisted of a decorated bar of hair that was put into the hairstyle and was also used for defensive purposes. In the course of time, the shapes became more varied. The history of Kanzashi as such is said to have started 3000 years ago. In the Edo period (1603-1867) the form of the Edo Tsumami Kanzashi is said to have been created, as it is also known today. The application of folded flowers gives the Kanzashi the nickname Tsumami. The traditional hairstyles wear flower decorations adapted to the season. Each month is assigned a special type of flower. Plum blossoms stand for example for February, cherry blossoms (Japanese: sakura) for April and blue rainforests for May.
This ancient flower folding technique of silk circles and squares is a traditional Japanese craft and is only practiced professionally by very few Japanese people. Preserving this art is even enshrined in Japanese legislation. Original craftsmen therefore attach great importance to the fact that “hobby butterflies”, even if they come close to the original craftsmanship, do not boast of producing Tsumami Kanzashi. I respect this claim as a lamprey, although I am naturally fascinated by this beautiful technique. That’s why I don’t use the name Tsumami Kanzashi and instead I use textile flower jewelry inspired by Japanese art.
Single petals are needed to produce a flower. At best an odd number of individual parts, it simply looks more organic. Small squares or circles must be cut, depending on the flower plan and target flower species. Thin materials are best suited for this purpose. However, if they are very smooth, cutting is quite difficult. If they are too thick, the pieces are difficult to fold. Once you get the hang of it, the sheets fold almost automatically, even if the pile of pre-cut circles or squares never seems to get smaller. For larger compositions, I often choose a mix of materials to make the piece of jewellery that I have in mind. As soon as the individual petals are folded and fixed, they are lined up and sewn together. Traditionally, rice glue is used, but I prefer sewn flowers. The hole in the middle of the flower is covered with a button or a pretty metal ornament. My previous work with this technique can be found in the hair-chamber section of my shop. Have fun browsing!