Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment. Traditionally they were woven in silk, and cotton for summer. To create kimono required a long process of skilled artisan work. Everyday use kimono were usually woven with patterns (like Inkatha in Indonesia).
For the wealthy they could be hand painted, and for special occasions they were silk embroidered. The quality of the fabric was very high so they could be worn for three generations.
Nowadays they are worn for special occasions such as weddings, funerals and some important events.
Chieko was born in 1933 in northern Japan, when and where western style garments were not available for most people. She grew up wearing kimono, probably handed down from other families.
Kimono became more than part of life for her when her training to become a stage performer started in her early teens. She learnt to dance Nichi-bu, (Japanese dance), play musical instruments (three strings, and percussion) and sing. While working as a performer she met her husband to be, and this ended her career as a performer.
It was some years after her husband’s death when she started to learn to embroider on silk.
She just wanted to wear original pieces of kimono and obi (sash). Embroidering with silk thread on silk needs patience and skill. It took her several years to learn the techniques, designing, and compositions.
She uses modern geometrical designs combined with traditional motifs, such as mystical creatures and flowers. Some of the work took her two years to complete.
This exhibition, Chieko thinks, is a great gift for her and we believe a gift for all who appreciate traditional artisan work from far away land.
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