Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Modern Kimono at the Met & さよなら

If you'll be anywhere near the Metropolitan Museum any time soon, I can heartily recommend 2 exhibits.  First, Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, huge tapestries, all from the 16th century, with amazing colors & details still gorgeous after all these years.  It runs thru 11 January 2015.  But I couldn't take photos.  

However, we also made it to another great exhibit, also currently at the Met, Kimono in Modern History, which runs thru 1/19/15, and we could take pictures.   So I thought I'd share a few with you (the Roommate took most of them).  

First off, the patterns were amazing.  Wonderful & graphic, just the way we like 'em!  Keyboards & sheet music, stained glass, circuit boards (?). So much fun.  

And one with cameras!  The text says FILMCAMERAFILMCAMERAFILMCAMERAFILM...

Many were classically Japanese (or what I think of as classic).  Stylized nature, with striking colors & interesting scale & repetition.  I love these unrealistic red & white waves with the little water drops in turquoise.   

Below is a chrysanthemum, but forgive yourself if you think it's fireworks...I think the artist was playing with us, especially by putting them against that dark blue background.  

Old kimono & yukata were made into new with some wonderful recycling. The first is a farmer's jacket from 1925-1950.  Using old yukata, which were cut into strips & re-woven, it's a heavy jacket with a wonderful abstract pattern.  

Next is another farmer's jacket (probably belonging to a woman) made using a patchwork of old silk kimono.  Yukata & kimono wouldn't be thrown away when they were worn out...instead they were re-used & turned into something as good as (or better?) than they were before.  

This is just a small taste (I wish the photos came out better, but of course we were taking them thru glass), and I didn't show any of the heavily embroidered and ornate kimono that were for weddings or the upper class.  All lovely.  Just a wonderful show, with many different styles and many examples.  

I must also mention the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibit at the MoMA, too.  It's amazing (I've been twice), but not really textile-related (though Matisse loved them & painted them a lot, there aren't really any in this show).  It is inspiration-related, though, so worth the lines.  

Finally, I'm saying さよなら. In English that's goodbye.  I started this blog over three years ago (6/19/11) because Tilly encouraged me to.  Although I enjoy her blog, along with many other sewing blogs, I really hate writing!  (And I have to say I avoid it at all costs...so why did I start a blog!?)  I have lots of things to write about, but often struggle to come up with something, or an angle on what I'm writing about, and it feels like torture.

Many sewing bloggers have developed their passion into a business. They seem to be able to turn out lovely finished items as quickly as a factory.  Although I admire their business-savvy & hard work, I don't want a business (I love my government librarian job), and I don't complete that many items in a given year because I love working in my garden, riding bikes with the Roommate, cooking, reading, etc.  I really hate the idea of turning my hobby into a scheduled deadline-driven activity.  I love deadlines at work; at home, not so much.

The last year or so I've really dreaded trying to come up with something to blog about!  Even this blog post took me a few weeks (thank the gods for two recent NYC trips!).  I'd really rather be sewing than blogging. So in the words of the immortal Gary Larson, "Adios, Amoebas!"


  1. Only to say THANK YOU for sharing some of your life ! will miss your blog even if i do NOT sew ...from France !!

  2. I'm so glad that you enjoyed our exhibition "Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry" at the Met.: after years preparing the show and catalogue, it is so heartening to receive such positive feedback! Really sorry about the "No Photography" rule- it applies to all loan shows at insistence of some of the lenders. But if you would like to see some images, do visit our website: www.metmuseum.org/granddesign


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