You can find Asagao, the Japanese morning glory, in almost all colors, but it is usually blue, purple, or pink. So today I would like to make a simple blue Asagao tsumami zaiku flower with white stripes.
You’ll be learning new techniques this time! The first is making a corn-shaped base, and the next is turning petals inside out. They may be a little bit hard at first, but don’t worry! You can do it!
You will need:
five 1.5 (3.8 cm) inch blue cloth squares
five 1 (2.5 cm) inch white cloth squares
one 1 (2.5 cm) inch round thick paper disc
one 1.5 (3.8 cm) inch white cloth square
decorations for the center (see my examples!)
wet towel to clean your finger
How to make:
1.Make a base.
a. Slit the paper disc halfway and glue about ¼ of it.
b. Put some glue on the convex side and put 1.5 inch white cloth on.
c. Cut off the excess cloth and glue the cloth inside (concave side).
One of the most popular summer flowers in Japan is Asagao, the Japanese morning glory. We write it with the characters “morning” and “face.” Just like in English, it was named because it only flowers in the morning.
It was brought to Japan around 1200 years ago by Japanese ambassadors returning from China. It was actually cultivated because of its seeds, which were used for medicinal purposes. But because Asagao starts blooming around the Tanabata season, people grew to love the flower itself because of its relation to the star festival’s legend.
Its Chinese name is “Kengyu,” another name for Hikoboshi, the cattle herder from the Tanabata story. Since “Kengyu” means pulling a cow, and the seed was very valuable as a medicine at that time, a person who was sent the seed visited the sender’s place to thank them by pulling a cow.
In the Edo era, people started calling the flower “Asagao Hime” and associated it with Orihime, the weaver from the Tanabata legend. People started thinking that Orihime and Hikoboshi could see each other if the flower bloomed, so the flower became a bringer of good fortune. It became so widely grown that by the end of the Edo era, people had cultivated more than 1,200 breeds.
Since it’s very easy to grow, modern day Japanese students often grow it for a science project in school—myself included! And since it’s very resilient to the heat, some people grow it like a curtain during summer for shade. Its leaves absorb so much heat that it makes it as cool as standing in the shadow of a tree.
I would like to share “How to Make the Asagao Flower” in my next post, so see you soon!
Have you tried making “chrysanthemum” flowers with Tsumami-zaiku? Today I would like to share how to make “peony” flowers. I’m going to use orange and yellow colors again like last time. But you should use whatever your favorites are. Pick 2 or 3 colors that you think will make your hanabi flowers beautiful!
In my last post I wrote about how Japanese hanabi (fireworks) are often described as chrysanthemums and peonies. So today I would like to show you how to use a chrysanthemum and peony pattern to make hanabi-like flowers. I love traditional orange and yellow Japanese hanabi, so I’m going to use those colors. But I think you should use whatever your favorites are. (Also, using 2 or 3 colors makes hanabi flowers beautiful!)
You will need:
ten 0.75 inch (1.9 cm) yellow square cloths
ten 1 inch (2.5 cm) white square cloths
ten 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) orange square cloths
one 1 inch round thick paper disc
wet towels to clean your finger
How to make:
1. Make 10 petals of each size of cloth with Ken-tsumami.
2. Put glue on the paper disc and glue on the 0.75 inch square cloth petals evenly.
3. Put the 1 inch petals between the 0.75 inch petals.
4. Put some glue on the 1.5 inch petals’ peak side and slide them between the 1 inch petals.
5. Reshape the flower before the glue dries completely.
Every July 7th is the Star Festival, called “Tanabata” in Japan. The original story came from China and arrived in Japan during the Nara era (710 – 794).
The story is like this:
A long time ago, there was a girl named Orihime, a daughter of one of the gods and a very good weaver. Her father was searching for a husband for her, and found a boy named Hikoboshi, a cattle herder.
They fell in love and got married. However, they became lazy after the marriage and did not work at all. Orihime’s father became furious about their complacency and set each on either side of the Milky Way as punishment. The pair was heartbroken and wept constantly. Feeling compassion for them, Orihime’s father gave the couple permission to see each other once a year on July 7th at night.
But, it is said that they cannot meet if it rains, so we always wish for no clouds in the sky.
There is a Japanese tradition of making decorations and putting them on bamboo branches for Tanabata. People also write their wishes on colorful rectangle papers and set them on the bamboo along with the decorations. Because Orihime was good at weaving, people usually wish to become skilled at something.
Bamboo is important for Tanabata, so today I would like to share how to make bamboo leaves with Tsumami-zaiku.
By the way, bamboo is a very important plant for Japanese culture in general, not just on (hopefully) starry holidays. It is a bringer of good luck, along with plum and pine plants. We use it with many things like crafts and tools. Bamboo shoots are also a seasonal food eaten in spring.
How to Make Bamboo Leaves
It is very easy!
You will need:
three 1 inch (2.5cm) square cloth (green)
one ¾ inch (1.9 cm) round paper disc (thick paper is better)
tweezers (You don’t need tweezers, but it’s much easier with them)
The “tsubaki” is the Japanese camellia. It is an ancient flower mentioned in Japan’s oldest collections of poems, “The Anthology of Myriad Leaves,” about 1250 years ago.
One facet of Japanese culture that people might find interesting is “kigo,” which means seasonal words. As the name implies, these are sets of words associated with particular seasons. Kigo are often used in poetry and art to signify when the poem or painting takes place. For example, tsubaki bloom vibrant red even in the bleak, colorless winter, so if a haiku uses the word tsubaki, it is understood that it is winter-themed.
I’d like to show you how to make your own tsubaki with tsumami zaiku. Maybe you could wear it this winter!
You’ll learn a new technique for this accessory. Tsubaki need fewer parts than the previous flowers we’ve made, but the technique is a little more difficult. After some practice, I’m sure you will find your way. Remember that tsumami zaiku isn’t hard; it just takes patience. Don’t give up and enjoy making it!
How to make a Tsubaki:
You will need:
three 1.5 (3.8 cm) inch red cloth squares
one ¾ (1.9 cm) inch round paper disc (thick paper is better)
craft flower stamens for decorations for the center of the flower
“Ume”, which is in my family name, is a very familiar plant for Japanese. We love not only flowers but also fruits.
“Ume” is a Japanese plum. It came from China about 1500 years ago. After that, there have been breed improvements, and there are more than 300 breeds now. “Ume” blooms and flowers even in the cold weather of the end of winter and tells us the arrival of spring, so “Ume” is also familiar as auspicious in Japan.
The fruit is edible. However, the underripe fruit is toxic so you need to do the processing. “Ume-boshi” is one of the most famous Japanese traditional foods and it is made by salting. We also make plum wine and syrup.
“Ume” fruit is rich in organic acids. People in the past treated it as a medicine sometimes because they knew its effects of recovery from physical exhaustion and disinfection.
You can make it double or triple by putting a smaller flower inside of it. You can arrange the direction of your smaller flower inside. You can put your smaller petals in the same place as bigger petals or between bigger petals.
I think that the stamens are the most important part to make a “Ume” flower. You need to have more stamens, finer and longer one than other flowers. Then lay them down in all directions. These steps make it more like an “Ume” flower.