My Material Life

The Enchanting Embroidery of Reiko Mori

1100883n7-1About this time each year I like to visit a local Japanese book store for inspiration. I can usually find some type of sewing, knitting or embroidery book that stirs my creative juices, even if I can’t read the text. What happened the other day was that I found an embroidery book that I liked very much although I did ponder whether I really, really liked it enough in a does it spark joy kind of way to buy it and bring it home. You see I’ve been making such progress on cleaning things out – even craft reference books that I thought I’d keep forever. Well as it turned out I couldn’t buy the book I selected because “the system” was down. The nice lady at the counter offered to put the book on hold for me, but I said something like, no thank you; if it’s meant to be it will still be here when I come back. I mean if you’re perfectly willing to buy something and the universe comes back and doesn’t let you, then maybe the universe knows something you don’t – right?

So I went home and decided to do a little poking around on the internet and I found the image above. This embroidery takes my breath away. I mean the fact that it’s worked on natural linen, the use of black on natural linen (my favorite combo), the swan, a ballet slipper, that necklace! The universe was right, the embroidery inspiration I was looking for was close to what I saw in that book in the shop, but what I found in the work of Reiko Mori was what I really needed.

sokusu-311111So beautiful, so interestingly filled with stitches, such unusual subject material …

vacation11I have seen Reiko Mori referred to as Master Reiko Mori. Indeed, her work appears masterful.

7fed2dc31accdf042ebcadc6910758fcBut Reiko Mori is still a mystery to me. I’m not sure Google translate does such a great job translating Japanese from her website and there’s so much I still don’t know.

il_570xn-320259325Who is Reiko Mori? I mean what makes her tick?

il_570xn-320259023And can embroidery be used as a spiritual practice?

This is a concept I discovered on The Japanese Embroidery Center website. Here’s a section from the Center’s description of Nuido, The Way of Embroidery:

The late Iwao Saito, master embroidery designer and founder of Kurenai Kai, used to say that the skilled hands of the embroiderer, which have a deep relationship with the heart, produce gorgeous works of embroidery. The embroidery not only reflects the state of the inner heart, but it also reveals the embroiderer’s lifestyle in the way he or she selects colors and uses the various techniques. There is no way that a vague and superficial life will create work that will touch people’s hearts.

I have a project coming up that will allow us to use a little Reiko Mori style embroidery on some natural linen. To find the source of the photos used in this post, please click on the photos themselves.

All the best to you in 2017  –




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