Allie Yaeko Kitahara, based in Japan, learning traditional Japanese embroidery techniques since 2003. Completed the Master Instructor Training Course in 2021. Currently exploring new embroidery techniques.
Right after I graduated with a degree in information and communication engineering in 2001 and initially embarked on my career as an engineer, I was captivated by the gloss of silk used in Japanese embroidery [1].
Since 2003, I have been learning embroidery techniques at Kurenai-kai [2]. I obtained a teaching license certified by Kurenai-kai in 2021. My first encounter with Japanese embroidery happened when I was 5 or 6 years old. I have a vague memory of seeing it at an exhibition in a department store in Chiba, a suburb near Tokyo. About twenty years later, when I was around 27, I rediscovered Japanese embroidery while looking for a Japanese-style wedding dress. Among various kimono options, I selected one decorated with Japanese embroidery. Since kimonos have minimal darts or gathers, it felt like donning a piece of art – a living canvas, each stitch telling a story. Standing in front of a mirror, I was pleasantly surprised by how the silk embroidery's luster added depth, almost creating a 3D effect. In that moment, I was inspired to learn embroidery techniques and create my own pieces. Afterward, when I searched for classes to learn embroidery on the Internet, I discovered a group called Kurenai-kai, an organization that teaches Japanese embroidery techniques to both artisans and the general public. Interestingly, it turned out to be the same organization I had seen creating embroidery when I was a child. 
Since then, I am learning embroidery and creating them.
[1] Japanese embroidery is basically used on kimonos, traditional Japanese costumes made of silk and golden thread.  The designs have no definite rules but traditional patterns are often employed.
[2] Kurenai-kai: One of the largest organizations in Japan dedicated to Japanese embroidery, offering instruction in the craft from artisans to the general public.
Back to Top