Pretty Pastels

It’s hot out there, you guys. It’s so hot! I really needed to make an outfit that felt summery and breezy to counteract the oppressive weather. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this adorable card-suit obi that followed me home from California. It seemed like a good place to start. Even before I’d brought it home, I was thinking it would work well with this hydrangea hitoe komon I’ve had for years that never gets enough love. It’s way too tiny for me to ever wear, and I admittedly only bought it because it was bundled with an obi I wanted, but the light colour palette and seasonality of motif fit perfectly with the breezy summer concept I was aiming for.

This adorable shell haneri from Kansai_Gal seemed like the ideal finishing touch for the outfit. Rather than default to my usual standbys for a hanhaba obi (chocho musubi or karuta musubi) I thought I might try to be inspired by Choko and her amazing ability to improvise soft and relaxed-looking obi musubi that would also fit with the airy and relaxed style I was aiming for. I would like to think I’ve succeeded.

A few of us here in Montreal are having a kimono meet-up  this coming weekend and I do wish there was some way I could get this kimono to fit me, but even if I were to lose a huge amount of weight it would still be too narrow across the back and too short, sadly. It would look so cute with pink lace tabi and my card-suit geta, but that’s a coordination for another person on another day. I will likely end up wearing my bunny komon and teal hakama, and you can be sure I will take tons of photos so check back early next week for that.

Art Gallery – Moonflowers

I recently bought myself a Microsoft Surface to be able to work on the go, and one of the greatest appeals for me was the fact that I could draw directly on the screen. What I didn’t take into account is the significant learning curve. Painting with a graphics tablet like a Wacom is markedly different from painting on a canvas, and painting directly on your work surface is different from both. The Surface has the benefit of allowing me to put my input tool directly on top of the artwork, more like a traditional painting, but the screen itself is so smooth, there’s no tooth at all like there would be with “real” paper or canvas.

I found a photo of a lovely painting of a moonflower in a book recently and it called out to me.  As you may know, moonflowers are kind of my “thing”, hence the moonblossom.net domain, my moon and flower custom kamon, etc etc. So when I found this, I thought I would use it as inspiration to start to get the hang of painting directly on the Surface! I’ve definitely got a ways to go, but I’m happy with my progress.

I suspect I will be doing digital painting much more often now that I have this thing, so be prepared for an influx of kimono and woodblock-inspired doodles!

Princess of Themyscira

This outfit was inspired by the strong and compassionate warrior whose name is on everyone’s lips these days – Wonder Woman! I’ve had so much fun doing geeky-inspired kitsuke in the past (Star Trek, Bitch Planet, and Star Wars) and I wanted to give Diana her due. My initial plan was going to be a blue kimono and red haori, but I realised the vaguely onna-bugeisha style of a hakama would be much more balanced and representative of her red top and blue bottom. I felt like the kiku motif of this vivid red kimono was reminiscent of the star motif of her outfit, and a navy hakama grounded the whole thing. Of course, I had to bring in gold as the accent colour of the haneri and obi. The sword seemed like a foregone conclusion once everything came together, and what would Wonder Woman be without her golden lasso (or in this case, her golden obijime)?

Overall, I feel like this was another ultimately successful cosplay-style kitsuke. I would love to wear this outfit to a convention or something at some point, along with a tiara and bracers. It’s the sort of outfit that would take a minute to “get”, but I think once people recognised it, it would go over really well.

Architectural Ikebana

Most of the arrangements I’ve done so far have been fairly loose and natural in feeling, working with the shape of the flowers instead of forcing them. I really wanted to try something more sculptural and geometric and work with straight lines and the very linear quality of lucky bamboo (which isn’t really bamboo) seemed like an excellent starting point. While I was at the florist’s I saw these gorgeous miniature purple calla lilies and I knew I’d found the perfect counterpart for the bamboo.

I focused on the diagonal lines to draw the eye from the top of the arrangement to the bottom. Initially I’d just wrapped the vase in the faux banana leaf but the colour balance felt off. I found this ribbon while packing for vacation; it’s actually the belt from a dress I have. The mauve was a perfect match for the calla lilies, and it really helps to anchor the whole arrangement and make it feel much more balanced. Overall, this one turned out very close to what I’d initially had in mind, and I’m very happy with it!

Art Gallery – Pop-Art Portrait by Melanie Georgiou

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been lucky enough to have a new portrait to share with you all! This fantastic piece was done by Melanie Georgiou (Merrie Go Art on Facebook). She is currently undertaking the incredibly inspiring challenge of doing one hundred portraits of kimono friends and colleagues. So far, they’re all as unique and bold and as fabulous as this one which just blows my mind. She was inspired by some of my favourite yabane pieces since we share a love of the motif, and I absolutely love that she included the iris motif since it’s one of my favourite flowers but not something I think I’ve ever mentioned. And of course, how could I not be thrilled with the bright bold blue of my hair? If only I could get it to stay this vibrant in real life!

If you liked this gorgeous painting as much as I did, click here to check out the rest of the project and her other amazing creative output!