Tanabata Workshop at Southbank Centre

Last weekend I took part in a Tanabata workshop at Southbank Centre – we were preparing Tanabata Fukinagashi decorations to be displayed onsite across the summer in the Festival of Love, but particularly for the Tanabata festival in July.

The festival is a Japanese star festival that celebrates the Tanabata legend: a legend where two star-crossed lovers; Orihime the weaving princess and Hikoboshi the cowherd, are only allowed to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month by crossing the Heavenly River (Milky Way).  Each lover is represented by a star.  Of course I didn’t know any of this before attending the workshop – I just knew we’d be working on some aspect of the stunning decorations which look like beautiful giant lanterns covered in streamers.

Beautiful image by Yasufumi Nishi
Beautiful image by Yasufumi Nishi

I’d invited some friends and we stumbled in – all late, all a bit hot and bothered, some slightly worse for wear, one fresh from a spinning class (insanity) – not really knowing what to expect and all slightly concerned it might not be possible to have a cider while taking part.  We were greeted by the lovely folk at Kinetica Design Studio and the Japan Society who gave us the option of two origami tables or a calligraphy table.  We opted for origami (the calligraphy looked challenging to say the least) and settled in to learn to make hearts and stars – first on lovely bright origami paper to practice and then moving onto the smaller, plastic coated paper that would be strung together to create the final streamers.

Origami is actually quite tricky – it took us quite a few attempts to get the knack.  Also in terms of chatting we quickly discovered how utterly incapable we were of gossiping whilst learning a new skill.  Having said that it was incredibly relaxing and the hours flew – and we were there for hours.  I managed to learn how to create hearts pretty quickly but my favourite was making stars – although harder they look like beautiful windmills when complete, particularly when using one-sided colourful paper!

We quickly got into chatting handmade weddings (within our little crafting group there are two weddings being planned currently including mine – eek!  That’s quite recent news and I couldn’t work out whether I should announce/warn any readers because, inevitably, this blog will be getting more DIY Wedding-y as the months go by… PS if you’re interested this is the silly boy I’m marrying and an example of the silly things he does).  The stars and hearts we were creating would make such beautiful garlands to decorate a venue in, or even an alternative to flowers on the table (imagine a vase full of beautiful bright windmill toys… but more ornate  – gorgeous!).  They were also simple(ish) enough to make with a drink in hand – which works perfectly for my plan to throw making parties in the lead up to my wedding to create bunting and decorations – ‘I’ll supply the wine, you supply the extra hands and chitchat’ style. I might not have warned my friends or family about that bit yet BUT it’s better than theming the next year’s worth of Crafternoon Cabaret Club’s as ‘Make-my-wedding’ as one friend suggested!!

Anyway enough on that for now.  Here is our lovely afternoon in pictures:

Photography by Hannah Cox.  Covered under copyright © creativise 2012

Please don’t use without asking and always link back to my blog


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