Leanne O'Sullivan at Kimono House1-Day Sashiko Intensive
11am-5pm, Sunday 10 February, 2019

Sashiko is a form of embroidery that originated in Japan during the Edo period (1615-1868). Originally, sashiko stitching was used to reinforce points of wear or to darn tears in clothing with patches, making the clothing more durable and warmer. (Japan has a culture of reusing and recycling, and a word, mottanai, which conveys a sense of regret over waste.) By the Mejii era (1868-1912) sashiko was a common form of winter work in farming communties, when it was too cold to work outdoors.

Sashiko evolved to become a decorative quilting and embroidery stitch that features white cotton thread on traditional indigo blue cloth. The word sashiko means ‘little stabs’ or ‘little pierce.’ There are two main styles of sashiko: moyozashi, in which geometric patterns are created with long lines of running stitches—and hitomezashi, where the pattern emerges from the alignment of single stitches on a grid.

The artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), published New Forms for Design in 1824, and many of these designs are used in sashiko patterns today. Sashiko stitching depicts things such as Yarai (bamboo fence),  Uroko (fish scales), Amime (fish nets), Kaki no Hana (persimmon flower) and Hirayama-Michi (mountain passes).

About Leanne

Leanne first visited Japan in the 1980s, where she lived and worked for 5 years. It was during this time that she became interested in Japanese textiles, and the kimono in particular. “Whilst living in Japan I was constantly inspired by the extreme contrasts around me—everywhere I looked there seemed to be a mix of traditional and contemporary co-existing beautifully.” This contrast is evident in Leanne’s pieces, which combine new and vintage fabric, and traditional and contemporary design. Nowadays, Leanne runs Kimono House Japanese Textiles & Craft —where she trades Japanese textiles and craft kits, teaches workshops and exhibits her collection of Japanese textiles.

Sashiko embroidery samplesAbout the workshop

Japanese Sashiko Stitching—From Basics to Pattern Transfer is a relaxing and enjoyable introduction to sashiko. The workshop begins with Leanne explaining the history of sashiko using samples from her collection. Next, we will cover the basic techniques of sashiko using Japanese materials and equipment as you stitch your own piece.

For lunch, the cooks at Shizuka Ryokan will serve a bento lunch.

After lunch, the workshop moves onto pattern transfer and explores the different tools and methods for transferring your own patterns onto cloth.

An informative class and fun for those who enjoy hand-stitching. No previous experience required


Date: Sunday February 10, 2019 11am-5pm

Venue: Shizuka Ryokan, Hepburn Springs

Cost: $169.95 – $179.85 per person. This price includes lunch and materials kit.

Bookings link: To book please visit our eventbrite page.

Future workshops at Shizuka Ryokan include: Japanese cookery, Boro stitching, Sumi-e painting, Calligraphy, Ikebana, Seasonal Yoga Retreats, Sake tasting, Furoshiki, Japanese gift wrapping, Wagashi, Origami, Mizuhiki, Temari, Japanese book binding, Japanese tea ceremony, Kokedama, Kimono wearing, and the ever popular SAORI weaving.

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