Thursday, January 19, 2012

Now I know why the size 13 Tulip beading needles are $14.00 a package

It was fascinating to tour Tulip company factory, offices and headquarters in Hiroshima a couple days ago. I promise to share as much as I can with you but, meanwhile, I'll tell you why the size 13 Tulip beading needles are $14.00 a pair.

Before I publish photos I took on the tour, I'll get the okay from HyoMin. Meanwhile, let me share with you a little about the persons and processes involved. Masami Oda invited us into the room where she hand works the size 13 needles.

She must hand set each eye, because the needle is simply too thin to do by machine. She then holds each tiny needle one at a time to the machine that will shape the head and then the point. She inspects each needle under a microscope to observe the success of this painstakingly detailed and precise operation. Masami will be working at the Tulip Co booth at the Tokyo International Great Quilt Show with us this weekend. I look forward to working with her. Additional booth staffers (who may all be familiar from previous posts), are HyoMin, Naomi Mori, Mayumi Kunishio, Shoko Akiyama, Masami Kawate and Takashi Sasaki. Kei Segawa and Shinichi Daisuke Ito, Satoshi, Sako (manger of the factory and inventor of custom machines), and Asako will be there also.
I digress...back to the handwork of producing size 13 ...

This is Takasaki Shinichi who was kind enough to demonstrate how he gold-plates the eyes of the size 13 needles, hand working up to 5 at a time.
Now when I am beading I enjoy knowing Masami and Takasaki and others who have handled each one of these precious little tools that are now in my hands. Our interconnectedness warms my heart. What other tools do we use that we can say this of? And when we need a fine needle that can handle right angle weave with size 15 seed beads and stand up to several projects, these just cannot be beat.
Soooo much more to tell...a little at a time allows.
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for describing your tour of the Tulip needle factory! All the care and attention that Masami and Takasaki-tachi put into those needles definitely shows.