Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kimono Loveliness

I mentioned in my last post that I have been occupying myself with unpicking kimono. In the process I have discovered that I owned rather more than I thought I did - maybe they have been breeding up in my sewing room!

Jacky asked me where I had come by them - and there in lies a tale. We have a wonderful shop here in Wellington called Asian Gallery. Its down a little lane in Kilbirnie and it is a veritable treasure trove of all manner of things Japanese, but most particularly of kimono, obi and other textiles. The owner has a licence as a antique dealer in Japan, which is apparently very hard to get, and he is able to buy up all manner of textiles which are not normally seen.

I well remember the first time I ever went there, as I was so overcome by the sight of all the kimono that I started hyperventilating and had to leave. There are literally hundreds of kimono in the tiny shop and the vast bulk of them sell for a mere NZ$25 - that's cheaper than the price of a tee-shirt. My hyperventilating was bought on by the realisation that it was impossible to make rational buying decisions faced with such variety and beauty at such reasonable prices.

The kimono that I have been unpicking were even more of a bargain than this though - they all came from a large collection right inside the door of the shop which are only NZ$5 each. These are all older kimono, some with holes or patches, but others in perfect condition. As you can imagine I find these irresistible whenever I am on that side of town - undoubtedly this is why I seem to have so many. If I take my boys with me when I visit I have to generally bribe them with a treat to ensure they will calmly wait while I wade through the stock - this also raises the average cost per visit! Here is a handful that have all been unpicked since I took this photo and this is my current favourite. It is still to be unpicked and will be kept to go into a quilt for me. I think this one was from the more expensive rack - although this of course is relative given the costs.
To get a look at the actual shop, have a look at this review of Asian Gallery that was written by Leimoni at the Dreamstress. It has masses of tantalising photos....
So what I've been doing with all these wonderful fabrics is of course to put them together for a quilt. This was my initial pin up of the fabrics as I played around with some ideas I had
and this is what the final version of the top looks like. I made a few alterations along the way and decided to go for a relatively consistent palette so took out the floral fabric which has quite purple tones.

I particularly loved the floral designs on the red kimono so have put a couple of larger pieces in to show it off.
Working to a deadline seems to work for me so it won't surprise you to hear this quilt is for a young couple who are marrying in early January - they are honeymooning in Japan, which is what sparked off the idea of a quilt from kimono textiles in the first place. Their wedding is making me truely feel like I must at last be a grown up - I can remeber so vividly the birth of the groom. He was the first child to be born to one of my school friends, and now he is marrying. Where have the years gone?
I have just started quilting it so will post more shortly to show how it is looking. I love working with these textiles - I think I can feel many more of them coming on. Maybe one will even be for my bed. Now there's a novel thought!

1 comment:

Jacky said...

This is stunning. What a wonderful wedding present (how lucky to be going to Japan on their honeymoon too).
Love the red floral, that really sets of the indigo's...just beautiful.
Thank you for sharing the story too. Now I want to visit that all sounds amazing. I think I might hyperventilate too if I visited!!!

Have fun stitching.