Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Inspiration - Kimono

Mary Mariko Ohno and her student, Mari.

Last week I was at the National Art Education Association conference in Seattle getting inspired by lots of good presentations and workshops.  With my recent kimono fascination, I was very excited to see a presentation on kimono dressing given by Mary Mariko Ohno!  Mrs. Ohno is an amazingly energetic woman who was born in Tokyo and now lives in Tacoma, Washington and runs the Kabuki Academy there.  The hour flew by!  She talked with us about the history of the kimono, how they are made, and kimono etiquette.  Then she used two volunteers to demonstrate how a kimono is worn. 

The turquoise kimono is a simpler one and the pink one was Mrs. Ohno's when she was a young woman (young, unmarried women wear brighter colors of kimono and the longer sleeve style).  Let me tell you - when she and her student each pulled on one side of the partially wrapped obi (the sash), you could see the models' eyes almost bulge!  She told us that was nothing - traditionally, men do the obi tightening for formal occasions, theater,dress kimono, and such and they pull much harder.  No wonder women say it's hard to eat, drink, and sit in one!  By the way, she works with local groups and schools giving demonstrations and lessons in traditional Japanese dance and music, as well as kimono - see her web page here for contact information.

This kimono is a theater costume used on stage - my photography doesn't show how beautiful it really is.  The padding at the bottom helps the kimono to trail behind the wearer, making a graceful flow.

I've been looking for an exhibition of kimono to attend, partly for the kimono themselves and partly because I want to study their surface designs up close - haven't found one near me, yet.  But, depending on where you live, you might be in luck!

The Museum of Art and Science in Macon, Georgia is hosting a traveling kimono exhibit, Fashioning Kimono:  Art Deco and Modernism in Japan, through April 10th.  This exhibit shows 97 kimono on loan from the Montgomery Collection of Lugano, Switzerland and are from 1890 through the 1940's.  Update:  the touring appears to be over but there is an exhibition book available here.

The Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore, Ohio will have a kimono exhibit from April 1 - July 15 of this year.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray, Florida has a current exhibit of kimono, woodblock prints, and paintings from different eras that will be on display through June 5th.

And finally, the Art Institute of Chicago will be exhibiting Japanese Kimono, 1915 to 1940: From Tradition to Ready-to-Wear, which looks at the information about the wearer a kimono gives.  I learned a few things in Mrs. Ohno's presentation - married or unmarried, for one.

I don't currently have plans to be near any of them, so I'll keep searching and in the mean time pour over my kimono books!

In other news, I have an update on where the Bead Museum's collection and library will be going now that they closed their doors - the Mingei International Museum in San Diego.  I've put more information as an update on the original post here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for mentioning the Schedel event! Is is the first of its kind fo NW Ohio and much of the area!