Shibori Kimono Collection

Because of Peter’s job with a US connector company, we lived in Asia for about 8 years. The last 4 years of that time we lived in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, next door to a Yakusa and down the street from some minor Royals. Every place that we lived or visited, I found new and wonderful textiles, paintings or china to collect. Everything is indeed very expensive in Japan, so I had to consider each purchase with care. The surprisingly inexpensive items to collect were kimono! As I think about it now, though treasures to us, used kimono are – used clothing! Just as I don’t hang the gown that I wore to the Christmas dance with Peter, the Japanese find it odd that we display their clothing. (Perhaps that’s why they were such a deal.) I lived very close by to a shrine sale (think garage sales on Sunday at a church) which happened once a month and I would walk down and hope for some great finds.

And now I must admit that I still collect kimono, though now I buy them on eBay and several Internet stores. This is my newest acquisition and I am absolutely in love with it. I call this sort of shibori, dotty, but the Japanese call it dots within squares. It is a bound technique; thread is twisted around a teeny tiny bit of the fabric to create the resist. This kimono is a whole study of how the dots can be combined to make other shapes.

The dyes are darker in some spots, as you can see on the sleeve, and lighter in others.

In this close-up of the back, you can see that the color disappears entirely, but there is still texture from the bound dots. Wow. Wow. Wow.

This kimono is also new. It is quite thin and I am wondering if it might be an under kimono. When dressing for a very fancy occasion, several kimono may be layered.

I was drawn to the shape of the resist on this kimono. In referring to a book I have about shibori, this looks like it is the larch shape. It is stitched on the outside and bound on the inside of the shape. Do you see that the artist left one oval blank? Love the asymmetry of that.

And finally, this is not a kimono, but a thin scarf that a woman uses to tie over her obi so that you can’t see any of the underpinnings. This is a favorite of mine. The fabric is blue silk and the artist wound what are called spider webs, or kumo in Japanese.

My collection rotates according to the season, my whim and what I may have just bought and looking at them inspires and delights me on a daily basis.

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