Sunday, September 09, 2007

An Admission

Hello. My name is Melanie and I'm addicted to vintage kimono fabric. It has been twelve hours since I last bought fabric.

I think I may soon need to seek some professional health! I must buy! I must buy kimono fabric! I need my fix!

I'm not going to add a photo to this post because my small Japanese apartment is chaos! By last weekend, I had it looking like a some-what neat, but short on space, warehouse. Now some of the fabric is draped over the iron board in different stages of becoming bags, some on the sofa in the midst of unpicking, some more, in another pile is on the sofa after a (successful I'm happy to say) experiment with washing and I have today's finds in bags waiting to be sorted.

While I've always loved buying fabric but I think it was a couple of weeks ago that it turned from a slightly obsessive past-time to a full blown addiction. It was then that I went to my first kimono auction. I was nervous. I was concerned that it would be a sterile environment, that it would be very formal and serious and that it would all be too fast for me to keep up with in Japanese. It was none of those. It was so much fun!

The auction house was set out like someone's lounge room. Their was a clean viewing carpet in the middle, with floor cushions on three sides and chairs set up behind that. I had arrived early and so managed to score a cushion right up in the front.

Most items were auctioned off in lots, only the really high end pieces were done on their own. Before the bidding for each lot began, the pieces were spread out on the carpet and we all got to feel the fabrics and inspect the pieces. It didn't take long to get a feeling for the bidding and to join in. People were polite and friendly while bidding. The auctioneer cracked jokes the whole day. The group all knew each other well, and if a piece came out that someone would be particularly interested in, but they weren't in the room at the time, they would call them in and wouldn't start the bidding until they had a chance to join in. At times the auctioneer would be auctioning and bidding on items at the same time.

Occasionally, lots wouldn't even be auctioned, but rather offered to the person they thought would be most interested in them. Myself included. I laughed and chatted with different people all day, oh and bought six boxes worth of kimono and obi!

So you'd think, that after buying that many kimono, I'd be satisfied for a while. Wrong! I stopped into an antique store on the way home and bought more!

I had to wait a couple of days for the boxes to arrive, and I'm happy to say, I had them sorted by the same evening. We now have what we are calling my "Wall of Fabric". The fabrics are residing in large clear plastic containers, packed carefully with bamboo (sustainable) charcoal (to get rid of musty smells) and moisture absorbing stuff, all sorted into types and eventual destinations. I just love looking at them all. I have three containers of unpicking to do, and it has been a great excuse to sit down and watch a dvd or two while I unpick. I find unpicking rather soothing. I imagine it's the same way that some people feel about knitting, which as hard as I tried, I never got the hang of.

Somehow though, the more I look and touch and play with the fabrics, the more I want. I bought another nine kimono today! I'm really going to have to start selling more to support my habit. That, and to make some room for more.


Jenny said...

Wow! Would love to have a look at what you have-what a marvellous addiction to have-you can open up your own shop in Australia!

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

I'd love to open my own store in Australia, that is actually the long term plan. Not sure how long it will take me though.


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