Have you ever looked at something completely random and seemingly useless, and innocently wondered to yourself if you could get something else out of that?
Well, I did that all through my childhood since I was a tiny little tot at the age of six. I’d sneak packets of tissue, empty cardboard boxes that used to contain tissue, blank and scrap paper and all sorts of stationary into my bedroom.
Out of the pile of seemingly nonsensical trash (hey, even trash can have meaning,) I’d staple handbags together, build dollhouses and create tissue and paper dolls. I had thought it good sport but my mother refused to have any of it and had all the tissue and paper taken down and thrown away.
It was not for a good twenty-odd years down the road before I had gotten bitten again by the crafting bug. Kanzashi, traditional Japanese hair accessories as Japanese women had worn them through the ancient and into modern times.
They came in all shapes and sizes. Tama (ball), kushi (comb), bira-bira (dangling/fluttering)and tsumami (pinching)kanzashi, the last of which I eventually chose to focus my limited time and energy on. This time, crafting materials were as expensive as they were sustainable, in comparison to simple tissue and paper, too cheap and too fragile.
Rolls of double-faced grosgrain satin ribbon came in different widths, colours and shades. They were relatively easy to find. However, the various techniques required to turn the common ribbon into glamorous floral structures were daunting.
It has been a year since I first started cutting ribbon into even squares for tsumami kanzashi.
I can’t say I’ve gotten anywhere near mastery.
But I definitely can say, “Every square of ribbon I cut out, I’m a step further away from ‘not trying at all’.”