Wednesday, July 07, 2010

First Love

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?

I do.

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.


It was still to be years until I felt brave enough to cut into other kimonos and obis and before Kimono Reincarnate was really born. But I know that the moment I saw this piece was the precise point in time that it all began.

10 comments:

nerines said...

I love the underside of embroidery too!! and that really is the most beautiful piece and well deserving of a frame, I often think the older frayed pieces become more interesting a sort of testament to how well loved it was. I've photographed a number of times the under side of my work, though it's not even nearly as elaborate, still you may find it interesting...maybe?? xo

nerines said...

P.S. I should say I've taken pictures but not shared much of it on my blog. I was never really suer if it was just a personal thing:) Love your new line of work too. xo

momijitomitsukoshi said...

Oooh yes, I know the feeling, especially for treasures like this. You just reminded me, we have two stunning pieces from our first trip, hidden away, waiting to be framed. I was thinking of having them sandwiched in perspex. What are your thoughts on a frame?

spindelmaker said...

what a beautiful piece of silk! I keep falling and falling in love when I´m at antique textile-shows. (Which isn´t all that often, but still) On my bedroom wall I have a small collection of vintage textiles from different countries I´ve been to: China, Guatemala, India. That way I can see them everyday :-)

CurlyPops said...

Such a wonderful story behind your obsession! When I find beautiful embroidery, I always turn it over too. I love to see the stitching underneath which is usually just as beautiful and neat.

Sarah said...

Beautiful!

I have a moment and a place that represent that moment for me and Japanese history. It still makes me shiver to remember it...

inori said...

Wow... it is truly a beautiful obi. I never knew how to embroider. I'm way too impatient. It's nice to read how Kimono Reincarnate was born! :)

kp said...

i can see why you fell in love!

Lilli boo said...

I love this stroy Melanie! It really got me thinking about 'falling in love' with a moment, item and person too :-) alovely read for a Sunday afternoon, you have made me feel very nostalgic. I love the embroidery too on your Obi...

Chrissy Foreman C said...

Deeeee-eeee-licious!

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