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Archives for March, 2013

In Japan and Sending Flowers

March 29, 2013

BlogCamelia1I just arrived to Japan three days ago and have been wildly busy.  But if anything makes you stop and smell the roses, it’s, well, the gorgeous blooms that seem to be everywhere now in Kyoto.

BlogCamelia1aCamelias, like the ones pictured above, are in full force right now, and there are many varieties to see.  This type (sorry, I don’t know the species name) is strangely perfect, or, rather, beautifully perfect.

BlogSakuraAnd the early cherry blossoms are just peaking now: the later blooming ones are almost fully opened.  The stark bloom, pictured above, does not accurately portray the countless cherry trees, each of which is a cloud of millions of  lushly delicate blossoms, the color of which is a pink so pale that it is almost not a hue.

BlogMomo1And in front of Gallery Kei is a peach tree, each bloom heavy and dense with petals, and the colors both pale and rich.



BlogMomo1cWith luck I’ll be posting more local color while I’m here in Japan.  Oh, and already I’ve found some wonderful new textiles which I’ll offer on the webshop when I’m back in New York.

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A Beautifully Distressed Long Cotton Kimono: Colors and Hemp Stitching

March 22, 2013

LongBoroKimono01This is a long, tattered cotton kimono shown inside-out.  The patches inside–their color, their size and their stitching–are raw and beautiful.

LongBoroKimono01aThe base of this kimono is a fairly lightweight, grey-colored cotton.  Most likely, and this is just speculation, this piece was bought second-hand and repaired at home by a poor city dweller or someone in a small town or village.

LongBoroKimono01bThe color palette of the patches and the kimono’s base color are beautiful, as is the stitching.   And by looking closely you’ll see that there is some hemp stitching used to affix the patches to the ground–always a plus in old, Japanese folk textiles.

LongBoroKimono01cAbove you’ll see a remnant of a tenugui, or a traditional, Japanese hand towel.  This fragment, on the left of the above photo, shows a sliver of the traditional hemp leaf motif or asa no ha. 

LongBoroKimono01dAgain, above, you’ll see the dusty, muted colors which make this old kimono so alluring.

LongBoroKimono01eAnd on these two photos, above and below, you can see how much stitched repair was utilized when mending this old coat.

LongBoroKimono01fI’d estimate that this boro kimono, in the state that it’s in, dates to the first half of the twentieth century.  The kimono itself could likely be older.


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Sometimes Simple is Best: A Hemp and Cotton Work Coat

March 8, 2013

HempMomenHanten01I’m showing this understated, rather self-effacing sleeveless work coat today as a study in subtlety.   Because the format of blogs and because viewing websites is done on a small screen, I generally like to show punchier textiles that will read better on these fleeting, electronic media. But today I’m showing something very simple.

HempMomenHanten01aIt’s a classic work coat, which I find to be extremely attractive, and it’s woven from hemp and cotton.  You’ll probably be able to see some cotton slubs which indicate this mix of fibers.

HempMomenHanten01bThe surface texture is just beautiful.  And looking carefully at the back of this coat, shown below, it’s fairly evident that this was used for work as some of the surface cotton slubs are worn away in the center of the back. Perhaps the former owner of the coat carried burden?  Highly likely.

HempMomenHanten01cThe cotton collar is not hand woven and is dyed black, probably a synthetic dye.  This tells us that this coat probably dates to the mid-twentieth century.  Also, this coat is missing sleeves, which doesn’t mean that it’s a sleeveless garment.  It simply means that the sleeves are not on the coat right now.  Sleeves and collars were often removed and re-attached during the lifetime of a garment, which often spanned generations.

HempMomenHanten01dBeautiful texture, isn’t it?


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