I have recently become very interested in the art of hana tsumami kanzashi, traditional Japanese fabric flowers. These flowers were worn by maiko (geisha in training) and geisha as hair pieces, and there are many customs associated with their use as adornment.
Just as I was beginning to learn about this ancient art form, I was excited to discover Fiona Carson's kanzashi-style flowers, available at her Etsy shop, Baba-dee Productions.
Fiona purchased some vintage glass buttons from Bumbershoot Supplies and with her feedback left a photo of a beautiful flower featuring one of the buttons (see the first photo above). Since I had just begun teaching myself how to make these beautiful flowers, I immediately asked her if I could feature her work.
Current kanzashi flowers have their design roots back in the 1600’s in the Edo period in Japan, when women shifted from wearing their hair long and straight to elaborate coiffures. There are currently only 5 tsumami kanzashi masters left in Japan, and one traditionally trained tsumami kanzashi artisan here in the United States.
Fiona is passionate about her flowers and she has taken elements of the traditional tsumami kanzashi process and made it her own. She uses beautiful silks, usually 2 layers to provide stability and enhancement of the main color. She sews and individually glues each petal, often in the evening when her two young children are in bed. Fiona also is passionate about vintage buttons, and her two loves come together beautifully in her flower pendants. With her design sense and her care and attention to detail, she is keeping alive the spirit of this ancient art form.
Fiona attends a local monthly market in Perth, Western Australia, so if you happen to be in the vicinity, you can see Fiona’s flowers in person – just contact her for details. Otherwise, I hope you will enjoy a visit to Fiona’s Etsy shop, Baba-dee Productions to see Fiona’s beautiful interpretation of the ancient art of hana tsumami kanzashi.