Do you remember that moment you first fell in love? I'm not talking about with a boy or girl, though the feeling is the same. I'm talking about the love of a particular medium or with the work of an artist or designer. Maybe it was the first time you heard a certain language or song or a new taste sensation. Whatever it was, do you remember how your heart just sang and at least a little part of you knew that your life was now changed forever?
For me it was a single piece of fabric. I was back in Japan on a holiday, having already lived there for my initial three years. A friend and I were wandering around an antique market when it caught my eye.
A very old, hand embroidered obi. It was worn and marked, but I loved it all the more for its flaws.
I did already own a few kimonos before this, all of which I thought were so beautiful, but the feeling for this pieces was different. I knew I was in love.
The rinzu silk fabric just shone, the silk embroidery thread were heavenly to the touch and the metallic thread used for the branches added a rugged texture to a piece so smooth.
I hadn't touched a sewing machine for years at this point but my mind was racing, thinking of what I could do with my treasure. None of those came to be, nothing ever seemed to justify the use of it. Instead, it's waiting to one day be framed.
When I did take the obi apart my heart sang again. Seeing the underside of the embroidery, all that necessary messiness hidden behind perfect stitching, I felt an even stronger connection to its artist. I could imagine her sitting in a kimono, by a fire trying to keep warm as she stitched plum blossoms and dreamed of the spring to come.