April 29, 2011

New obi arrives

The new hanhaba obi arrived! Here are photos of it in this post. It's in great shape and colors are bright and crisp. It's amazingly cute. The pattern is the same on both sides, except one side has the large tachibana and the other side has big sakura (cherry) blossoms.
I got home from taiko early tonight, so I quickly decided that the new obi would look good with a couple of kimono. My first thought was a yukata and something dark: the turquoise spider mum yukata picks up the blue in it and the black wave Meisen for some needed contrast. I've added an obijime for each and a red shibori obiage for the Meisen ensemble. I think these combinations might just work!

I put sakura side out for the Meisen and the tachibana side out with the yukata. Just for a little extra color contrast. The obi really pops on the black kimono!


April 26, 2011

Magenta addiction

Ebay is evil. Well, not entirely evil, just very tempting. I actually got into a minor bidding war over this lovely hitoe (unlined) kimono a few days ago. Stress! I really needed an unlined kimono (It's all about the weather here) though and this one was just too amazing to pass up. It has all of my favorite kimono features: Meisen, long sleeves, and a big bold geometric design (yabane). Can't wait to see it in person.

These are the seller's photos:

Kimono meet-up with a new friend

I met a new kimono-wearing friend today at a local Starbucks! I finally found someone that is as crazy as I am when it comes to kimono! In Tucson no less!! (OK, too many exclamation points).

Ikue is from Japan by way of Seattle and just moved to the desert a few months ago. (Weather shock coming soon!) We met at the Japanese cultural event I went to on Saturday. She also has a blog but it's in Japanese...in fact, she posted the photos from today's meet up faster than I did!  She is a professional kimono-dresser and stylist. How cool is that?
I will teach her about evil ebay and she will teach me how to fine-tune my kitsuke!

 I love how we wore such contrasting colors in our yukata:
myself in red and yellow hibiscus and she in blue and purple snow crystals....hot and cold! Seemed appropriate somehow- desert heat v. the cool northwest.

She's coming over this weekend to see my collection, so I'm sure there will be more photos.

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter: Brights for spring!

Happy Easter everyone! I did my main Easter fun yesterday, which included a taiko performance at an event and a fun evening at a friend's house for a casual dinner to help decorate a bunny cake and color Easter eggs! I had not colored eggs in years, and it was really fun. The host had bought one of those Paas brand dye kits you can get. Everything was the about same as it was 20 years ago: the little tablets of colors, the little wire egg holder that doesn't work well, etc. The main change: lots of stickers, which we didn't use on the eggs.

But besides Easter week, I have been working on a Japanese-inspired costume project (That project will have to have a separate post!) for a performance artist. While looking for kimono for the project,  I of course found a few things for myself. That is the worst thing about having to look for stuff on eBay with other people's money, you end up spending your own! So I was smitten by a stunning and bright geometric Meisen kimono with a yabane print and 3-season hanhaba obi. I intend these  to go together but I will see when they arrive. These are the seller's photos:
How vibrant these colors are! I love the yellow arrows and the orange circular pattern against that brilliant blue. For some reason, theses colors seem youthful and spring-like to me and remind me of iris and yellow daffodils.
Speaking of bright and cheerful, this is the cute obi I found that might work with the kimono:

Then again, I will have to see when it arrives. The obi is pretty bright and the two together might be over the top. But how cute is this obi? It looks like a three-season obi because of the mix of patterns but the colors look like spring and summer, very bright and friendly. The largest motif in the photos seems to be tachibana or mandarin orange. The other motifs on this obi include sakura, stylized waves (seigaiha), hemp leaf, ume (plum), and maybe kiku and botan (peony). A mix of patterns is called kiredori. When these arrive, I will see how they go together!

April 4, 2011

The gems have arrived

When I got back from a meeting today, the UPS truck had left me a box. I didn't get a chance to open it until after work, but how exciting!
Here are my Japan charity items I won on eBay- first is a black Meisen komon kimono with the incredibly bold wave pattern. The long sleeves are fabulous! The pattern just kills me...it's so modern and the magenta color is so bright.
I just took a couple of quick photos; nothing fancy, just to give you an idea. No time to try on the new stuff today; maybe later this week. I need to contemplate coordination!

Now the obi- it's a wonderful peachy-beige nagoya obi with a cool geometric pattern. There is also a fun surprise with the obi: the back of the drum section of the obi has a yuzen dyed floral patterned panel featuring roses. It's really lovely and I could wear it with the floral side out or the striped side out.

Here are the pretty yuzen flowers in the inside. I'm really pleased with these purchases and even more so since it's for a great cause.

Once I figure out how these two pieces will go together or how to coordinate them with other items in my collection, I will post the photos.
Until then, Arigato!

April 3, 2011

Supporting the Economy of Japan

I have decided that it is OK to feel good about buying something from Japan since I am helping out their economy right now. So I think of it as a donation, not just shopping on eBay. By the way, I have already donated in a few other ways, one of which was bidding on and winning this gem; all proceeds going to a charity called GlobalGiving to help Japan. It should arrive tomorrow via UPS.

Ok, back to the "striper".
It seems I have a real a thing for geometric prints like stripes, yabane, hakata, stylized waves, etc. So I was excited to find this fun hanhaba obi in crisp pale pink and black jinken (rayon).
It's über cute and looks almost like it's made from grosgrain ribbon. The pink is very pale but the black keeps it from being too sweet and from washing out the color. One thing that only shows in one (top picture) of the seller's photos are the tiny metallic silver stripes between each pink and black stripe. The silver stripes are so narrow, you do not even see them at certain angles. So I was surprised to see that it has just a little bit of sparkle! I think that makes this obi more fun.

 I'm not quite sure what kimono or yukata to pair this beauty with at the moment, but I'm sure it would also make a wonderful addition to a kimono-hime style outfit with the addition of some striped tights, black ankle boots, and a cool hat. I could go very punk-rock with this obi! (Hime means princess and there is a Japanese fashion magazine called "Kimono Hime" that has popularized a quirky style of wearing kimono mixed with western clothing such as boots and hats or unusual colors and fabric combinations that look very contemporary.)

As soon as I have figured out what to pair this with, I will post some photos.

April 1, 2011

Modeling in Kimono at Toscana Studio and Gallery

This afternoon I got to do something a bit unusual-- modeling for a life-drawing/painting class in kimono! I had done it a couple of times last year at the same art school. It's fun and I get paid. How cool is that? Plus artists usually like me as a model because I don't fidget. I stand still and remember the pose.

The group of artists this time were so nice and all were very good. One artist even gave me one of her pastel sketches! Modeling is a lot harder than it looks, you can't move for 20-minute stretches (This is the longest pose, with 5-10 minute breaks in between) and you have to hold the same pose over and over and over. So you had better be comfortable the pose you are in, because after 2-1/2 hours, it will come back to haunt you in the form of numb toes, cramped legs, and stiff fingers!

Since it was Friday, when the class was over at around 4:30, (And I had changed back into jeans), Linda had "happy hour" and brought out some wine and snacks and I stayed with the artists to chat. We had a great time.

Here is the outfit, with photos taken by Harry G. (The lighting was a bit uneven, great for the painters, not great for photos...I looked a bit shiny!)

Linda A.'s pastel drawing.
Pink was the theme of this ensemble: pink fan komon, turquoise, purple, and fuchsia ume juban, hawk nagoya obi, cream obiage and black-cream-pink obijime, pink and blue zori, and pink plumeria kanzashi. (My hair is so short, I only have two little flower hair clips, both are plumeria). This is the first time I have worn the fan komon and it's a fabulous kimono: buttery soft, easy to wear and move in, probably because it's 65.5" tall, so it's sized almost perfectly for me. So the sleeves are a bit short, but no one noticed.

I had sent Linda some images of outfits and she was very taken with the dramatic hawk obi, even though it's out of season. I have worn it before without an issue, but today, it wouldn't cooperate! I had to retie it about four times. It seemed extra stiff (crunchy!) yet slippery today. This obi is tricky anyway since the tare is short and the tesaki is a bit long. So by the time I got it, the obijime (a flat one) was also being contrary, so I did this weird loopy thing with it. The artists thought it looked excellent: very decorative!

The pose was interesting and highlighted the back of the obi;  I was turned 3/4 away from the artists and in front of a mirror, pretending to arrange flowers. The angle made for an interesting composition and some artists even attempted to do the mirror image as well.
It was a nice Friday!