Cascade – Kanzashi Workshop
Cascade helps women take a closer, more creative look at their wardrobes, and offers stylish and practical ways to Restore, Revive and Remake clothes and accessories. They run craft workshops from studios in Brighton and Lewes and also regular pop-up shops selling handmade and upcycled products.
I had the pleasure to attend the Japanese-style ‘Kanzashi’ flower making workshop last Friday. Hana Kanzashi are hair ornaments used in a traditional Japanese-style. The seasons dictate which kind of hair ornament is worn. Usually this applies, above all, to the geisha and maiko who tend to be the only Japanese women to wear kanzashi often enough for seasonal changes to be noticeable. In February it consist of flowers in pink or red, a symbol of love between young people and the arrival of spring.
The workshop was at the beautiful studio-house of Cascades founder, Caireen, in Ovingdean Brighton. I was part of a small group of four ladies who were welcomed warmly by our host Caireen and instructor Emily.
I have to say it was an excitingly creative start to my day. All the equipment was set up for us: scissors, glue, great fabric scraps (you’re more than welcome to bring your own), buttons and clips.
With a cup of coffee next to me and having been introduced to each other, Emily explained how to make the “Kanzashi” flowers very clearly. We commenced working by choosing our scraps of fabrics. Hana Kanzashi flowers are created from tiny squares of material by a technique known as tsumami. Each square is folded multiple times and cut into a single petal. We attached them with the glue gun in the centre of the flower which was then held in place with a button. A circle of felt made up the back to which we attached the brooch pin. Our Hana Kanzashi flower was then ready! The icing on cake……… you can take it home all packaged up for you in a lovely little box, either to keep for yourself or to give as a present.
Luckly we had enough time to do a second flower, smaller and with round petals. The technique is the same as before, but we used a different way of folding. From this technique you can create stunning pieces for adding to clothing or for a special occasion. Now that Christmas is coming this is a brilliant idea for an unusual and classy present.
Caireen Goddard, the founder and director of the project stated: “I wanted to make classes for anyone, so that in a couple of hours of workshops you are able to create and finish your piece of craft, without the need to be an expert”. So, from my experience, I can assure you you’ll leave the class with a huge sense of satisfaction.
This workshop will introduce you to the wonderful world of Kanzashi Flowers and show you some amazing ways to dress up these simple folded flowers: a pin or hair clip. Emily was an excellent teacher, very easy to follow and the scrap material they provided was great too with lovely cotton prints and the option to change the centre button allowed you to create a item that really suited you.
I was fascinated by the transformation and reinterpretation of fabric scraps, reused in a creative and refined way, turning them into real gems of craftsmanship.
The Cascade project was born from the idea of making art without necessarily having the skills needed, based on the fact that everyone who participates get truly amazing results and that’s exactly what I experienced myself when attending the Kanzashi making workshop.