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Archive for the ‘Vintage Japanese textiles’ Category

Modern Art Kimono

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015


We had a very interesting talk and showing of kimonos at our local SAQA meeting today. Lorenz Hermsen collects kimono and haori from the early 1900s, concentrating on kimono that was inspired by modern artists. Here is what he says on his website:

The first quarter of the twentieth century, especially the Taisho Era (1912-1926), saw Japan’s interest in Western art and culture increase dramatically. Japan was entering the modern age, and with that came greater ease of travel, a flow of information, women entering the work force, and, for some, a departure from traditional Japanese values.

During this time, kimono remained the mainstay of clothing for women. While their structure did not change, their surface design began to reflect increased contact with the West, as some designers looked to Western art and design for inspiration. These ‘modern’ kimono represent a melding of traditional Japanese sensibilities with new, Western–influenced ideas. They are also valuable as objects of art, as these kimono designers were not mere copiers, but creators of original art synthesizing East and West.

Movements such as Arts and Crafts, Impressionism, the Vienna Secession, Art Nouveau, Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Art Deco and Constructivism are recognizable. Many of the major modern artists are represented, such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Paul Klee, Raoul Dufy, Marc Chagall, and Joan Miró, as well as important textile designers of the era—William Morris, Sonia Delaunay, Ruth Reeves, and others.

I just loved seeing these kimono and the fabrics. I was totally unaware of these textiles and I was mesmerized.

The haori up above was probably inspired by the work of Chagall. Here is a detail:


What blew my mind was how this was done. It is a form of ikat weaving called meisen. Here is what I found on the web regarding meisen:

Meisen was patterned using chemical dyes that were mixed with rice paste and applied through stencils on to warp (vertical) threads woven with temporary weft (horizontal) threads. After application of the dyes, the latter were unravelled and discarded and the true wefts woven in. This was a speeding up of the traditional kasuri (ikat) technique, by which sections of yarn were hand-tied or compressed in certain areas to prevent the colour penetrating when the skein was dipped in the dye bath. The new method produced the characteristic blurred outline of kasuri, but also allowed for the creation of more complex designs, particularly when a system for stencil-printing wefts as well as warps was developed.

This was a lovely indigo kimono:


And a detail of the very modern print.


And another:


And detail:


I loved the colors in this one, that looked art deco to me:



Here are some details of kimono and haori:

This piece was inspired by impressionist trees.



I just loved the wacky orange and black graphic lining in this one.


This was a very modern design done in the old shibori method. The colors were wonderful.


He also brought lots of kimono fabrics to sell.


And even though I fell in love with this one, I did not buy anything. Those who have been around a long time must know how hard that was for me as I used to use a lot of vintage Japanese fabrics in my work.


I am slightly immobile again since by other knee is in lots of pain. It is a week of meetings, High Fiber Diet last night, SAQA today and STASH tomorrow. I delivered my tree quilt to SAQA today. It will probably be traveling for a couple of years.


Mottainai – Essence of Things

Monday, November 21st, 2011

This is a most incredible exhibit! Steph and I took it in this afternoon. We so wanted to touch everything. The exhibit is on through the week-end at the Portland Japanese Garden. The Mottainai exhibition consists of objects hand-made by the wives of farmers, fishermen and lumbermen in rural communities in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The earlier pieces are lovingly patched and stitched over and over for reuse. The later objects are fabric and garments made from natural fibers like hemp, ramie, wisteria, elm, paper and kudzu.

I will just post some photos with comments where I remember something.

The first set of photos are of boro cloth – which is older cloth and garments that are patched and stitched.

Boro Apron.


If you click on this sign, you can read about sakiori. Sakiori is derived from the saki, meaning tear and ori for weave. The sakiori cloth uses torn strips of cloth for the weft.

This is a gorgeous garment  woven from ramie.

This piece of fabric covered a seat which was over a brazier for heat. The heat scorched the center of the fabric and it has been patched and mended many times for reuse.

We saw some very utilitarian sashiko. Most of what I have previously seen has been very decorative.

Kudzu fibers!!

Paper undergarment.

Paper garment.


Indigo dyed paper garment.

The following pieces are elm or linden tree fibers.


This is wisteria!! (I think)


Not sure what this is – just some patched and stitched fabric and balls of fibers.

It was just a lovely, lovely and humbling exhibit.

At the gift shop, I bought a pack of linen squares. I am not sure what I will do with them – maybe just fondle them.

I also bought the catalog, which I think is available at the online store, here.

Before heading to the garden, the whole family had lunch at Sushi Land for Miles’ birthday. He loves this place because the food comes around on a conveyer belt and he can grab whatever he wants.


Here is a sweet photo of Mia with her Dad.

I must get a good night’s sleep so that I can do all the holiday prep work tomorrow to load in the car for our drive down to Smith River, which is on the coast just south of Oregon. Scooter is going to the groomer to get all pretty for his first vacation with us.

A Bit of Japan

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

arrived in this envelope from Belgium this morning.

My Twelve by Twelve friend, Françoise, who has traveled to Japan quite often, was very excited for me to have the opportunity and shared in my disappointment. So, she sent me a bit of Japan in the form of papers, fabric scraps and a lovely bookmark, created by her.

Today was the day of our departure and so it was especially poignant to receive this lovely little package from her.

As I have said, I am sad, but it pales in comparison with my sadness for the Japanese people and all that they are enduring.


Meeting My Deadlines

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I am feeling so much better, but a little tired. Maybe because I have been moving at a pretty good clip to meet my deadlines. I have a very busy week.

I finished Kimono III and you can see it attached to a bamboo hanging rod. I attached the other two to rods, also.

Today, the family came for dinner. I made roast salmon on a bed of potatoes, peas and parsnips. Steph made delicious brioche and lovely arugula salad.

When Steph was a little girl, if her birthday occurred near Easter, I made her a bunny cake.

I thought it would be fun to make her one again this year. It is a more adult version — coconut pound cake with dark chocolate frosting and toasted coconut garnish.

He is a little scary looking, but he tasted delicious!!

Tomorrow, I have guild board meeting in the morning. Then, I have to finish all my work for the Japanese Garden show. I want to dye some scarves and perhaps make some postcards. Everything has to be delivered on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I have a committee here at my house all day, working on selecting slides from the guild slide library that will represent a retrospective of guild activities and work. These will be digitized and the rest will be donated for study or thrown out. Slides are now obsolete!!

We won’t have STASH this week because Gale is in Arizona visiting her sister and Terry is working for the census and Beth is over at her beach house. It is Terry’s birthday tomorrow and I was hoping to celebrate, but we will have to wait until next week.

I hope you had a lovely holiday!

It’s a Miracle!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

I spent most of the day feeling achy and mopey, even Aleve made no difference. All of a sudden, this evening, I felt better. I went to the studio and quilted Kimono III. I did much closer quilting than I did on the other two. I used a metallic red in close quilting lines. I love how it looks for this piece.

Here is another detail.

I am doing a plain black satin stitch edge. I am happy to have this done. I still want to dye up some scarves and make a few fabric postcards.

Thank you everyone for your good wished whilst I was moping around.

I am going to do Easter dinner. I think I will do roasted salmon and veggies. I am making a birthday cake for Steph, since we didn’t have a chance to do that this week.

We are supposed to have wild, wet and windy weather for the next few days so it will not seem very Eastery. But, we will make the best of it. There will be chocolate!!

Hope you all will have a lovely holiday week-end, whatever you are celebrating.