Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Step Eighteen: Kusudama, Part Two... and a voyage of discovery with copper!

Dearest Sylwi

Today was going to be Part Two of the Kusudama project... and a variation of it, that I wanted to explore. The variation didn't turn out quite as I expected (at all as I expected, in fact! ha ha!), but I'll tell you about that in a minute - first, the Kusudama! :-)

Once I had created twelve flowers (see Part One from last week), I glued six together to make one half of the ball and the other six, to make the other half. To make a string to hang it by, I glued some raffia in a loop through the centre with a little bead just as decoration...

and... finally, it's finished! :-)

{It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but very dinky and cute! I can see a few of these in a larger size, hung above a wedding, or party table as decoration...}

It feels extremely odd to finish it, as it's been on my creative 'to do' list for about 2 years. When I first found the tutorial, I made one flower and that has been perched on top of my inspiration board for those 2 years, looking pretty... but ultimately, a daily reminder that the project remained unfinished! :-)

As I was folding the paper last week, I really started to get excited about the possibilities for it, if it was made out of metal! I envisioned it as a sort of sculptural piece for the garden, or as a light fixture (if the metal had lots of holes in it, I figured it might look beautiful and also cast some stunning shadows).

I've never worked with metal before, so did a bit of Googling and came across The Crazy Wire Company in the UK. They sell small packs of mixed offcuts of metal - perfect to test out my ideas, without committing to buying huge amounts of expensive materials... and then finding out my ideas wouldn't work! :-)

So I ordered a couple of packs of mixed offcuts and was thrilled when they arrived. The pieces were about A5 / A6, or smaller - lots of different thicknesses and some of them were made of a very fine and beautiful mesh. Perfect for messing around with. 

I tried to fold a Kusudama petal with some thin sheet copper, but it didn't work. There's a fold in origami where you fold the paper one way, which gives you a guideline and then you reverse the fold. It didn't work at all with the metal... so, I put the idea aside for the day! I may come back to it in a later Step, though! :-)

I'm doing a lot of planting in the garden at the moment and desperately need seed and plant labels, so I can remember what I've sowed and where. I searched online for some pretty markers to buy and could only find these beautiful, silver cutlery markers, created by a few sellers, my favourite being, 'Monkeys Always Look', over on Etsy. Alternatively, there's a tutorial on the 'Shrimp Salad Circus' blog, if you wish to create them yourself

Whilst I think they're gorgeous, it did strike me that the copper scraps I had would be ideal for markers. Not only is the copper a beautiful colour right now, but as it oxidises outside, it will turn an even more attractive range of colours. So, I decided to experiment!

I've had a bit of an obsession with tattoos over the last few years and originally had thought of doing tattoo scroll-like plant markers... I made a scroll seed marker and stamped the word 'coriander' onto it ... but there was something bugging me about the idea. 

Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I wondered if maybe I'd seen this idea done by someone before... and then it suddenly hit me! I had!!! In the lovely, 'Something Else Perhaps' shop on Etsy! Although, her results and the quality of work are far more beautiful than mine. Check out this baby! :-)

The copper scroll idea must have been embedded in my subconscious... which made me laugh, but was also kind of annoying, because I thought I'd come up with a great idea... but clearly I was just copycat-ing the gorgeous Dana! :-)

So, I changed tack and created leaves from the copper instead. I thought they would work quite well, as when the copper oxidises it will turn a lovely, green, leafy colour. I used a script font and embossed the herb names onto the leaves (I used a permanent marker to make them more visible) and then attached them onto twigs from the garden.

I also created a little song bird for the mint... hopefully, he'll scare the slugs away! :-)

So, I created two things for this Tuesday! :-) Which makes me laugh, because I know there have been days when I struggled to create one! :-) It also makes me laugh that I thought I would have a copper Kusudama light fixture, but instead, have seed markers! :-)

Hope all's well with you. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your next step, dear Sylwi. I wonder if, with these steps, we are moving any closer towards actually meeting in person one day?! :-)

Take care.



  1. Fi! these are amazing! you should definitely open an etsy shop, youd sell loads! they are so cute and creative and very well done! and very original too i might add, no copycat designs here at all! xoxo

  2. Fi... I'm so totally blown away. May I pay you to make me several of the birds and the leaves? Josh's mother would go nuts - a great xmas present. I would buy three sets more for friends who have birthday's approaching this summer. :) Oh, please. Oh please?

    You and Sylvia will meet in person. I'm sure it will be soon. And I hope it will be soon after that I meet you.