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Tag Archive | "powells books"

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Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland

Posted on 05 August 2009 by Tim

Diane Gilleland, of CraftyPod.com and DIYalert.com, wrote a nifty book about a craft style she enjoys called kanzashi. As you can see, her book is titled Kanzashi in Bloom. I noticed Diane’s book signing from Powell’s Books event calendar and although I was a bit out of place in the crowd, I’m glad I went.

In fact, Diane noticed me and came over to introduce herself, which caught me a bit off guard but was a pleasant surprise. She politely listened as I stumbled through explaining why I was there.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re dying to know what the heck kanzashi is! So let’s get rolling…

What is Kanzashi?

Diane explained that kanzashi is an ancient craft from Japan that started in 1600 during the Edo period. It began as a decorative addition to the elaborate hairstyles of geisha. Later this style was adopted by geisha-in-training known as maiko. Traditionally, kanzashi utilizes silk cloth. However, a variety of materials can be used including precious metals, wood and tortoise shell.



Unfortunately, kanzashi is a dying art. According to Diane, there are only 5 masters in the world! She met one of the masters and, at the book signing, passed around an elaborate hair pin with a small bloom and flowing petals to demonstrate the fine craftsmanship. I have to say, it was pretty impressive. I’m quite sure my big clumsy man-fingers couldn’t fold such intricate patterns!

If you’re interested in more of the history of kanzashi go here.

Kanzashi in Bloom

Diane’s book demonstrates in full-colored detail how to make 20 Simple Fold-and-Sew Projects to Wear and Give. Kanzashi in Bloom shows you how to create the floral patterns with a plethora of quality photographs, taken by Diane’s mother, along with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

The method of crafting these floral designs has been simplified from traditional processes to make it easier to learn. Diane also modified the process to account for different material types, since most crafters will not be using silk or other pricey material.

Diane has made crafting kanzashi so easy (and fun) that everyone in the audience at Powell’s, including me, successfully made two different flower petals. The picture to the left here are the two I made. Not too bad, right?

After you’ve made a bunch of petals then you can take a needle and thread to string them together. Then arrange the petals into a flower shape and add any additional decorations.

Take a look at what readers have made from Diane’s book!

If you’ve read the book, and tried out the designs, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Made by Tim


Kanzashi in Bloom - Thumb

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New Book: Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

Posted on 22 July 2009 by Tim

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Chris Hedges debuted his new book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle at Powell’s Books on Tuesday, July 21. The book is essentially about the devolution of our society from a literate, critical thinking mass that can separate reality from illusion into a society focused on spectacle and shallow entertainment to the detriment of our society and the world as a whole.

Chris Hedges Receives a Standing Ovation from Oregonians

Michael Jackson

In his talk at Powell’s Books, Mr. Hedges started out by talking about Michael Jackson and the spectacle of his death. Hedges said that Michael had his childhood stolen from him and was “surrounded by vultures” who preyed on his insecurities. Michael turned himself from a masculine African-American man into an androgynous, effeminate individual whose “chalk white skin” became a “Caucasian death mask”.

The point was certainly not to mock Michael Jackson but to illustrate America’s disturbing obsession with the rise and fall of celebrities. Hedges goes on to describe the odd spectacle of Michael Jackson’s funeral which was turned into an entertaining media event complete with singing children, performing artists and even a plug for KFC chicken courtesy of Magic Johnson.

Politics and Brand Obama

In his critique of politics, Chris Hedges discusses the vast sums of money required to run for Congress. He also points out that economics trumps politics as demonstrated by the unregulated bail out of the financial sector. Although Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and others get special attention, Hedges zooms in on Bill Clinton for some precision strikes against his welfare policy and NAFTA. Both of which, as Hedges describes, are major contributing factors to the economic problems our nation faces.

Chris Hedges Speaking at Powell's Books on July 21st.

Regarding Barack Obama, Hedges refers to his campaign as Brand Obama since he was portrayed as something new and fresh, willing to change the old ways. However, Brand Obama has been unwilling to consider the “prosecution of the Bush Administration” and has not repealed many of the spying programs nor has he “reinstated habeus corpus”.

The Economy

Hedges points us in the direction of Henry David Thoreau to learn more about living a simple life so we can achieve a real sense of happiness rather than chasing the latest trends and celebrities to escape our existence. Following that, he delves into the shift in our economy from production to consumption.

A great point Chris makes is that life is not just about “tangible success but of resurrection of integrity”.

After about an hour of speaking, with occasional bursts of applause, Chris Hedges took questions for about 30 minutes or so. It was a very stimulating presentation and discussion. I’m glad I was able to make it out to see him speak. A big thanks to Powell’s Books!

Chris Hedges Around The Web:

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