🎵Can you paint with all the colours of the Wind?🎵
Ahhh, Pocahontas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie, but it’s so far removed from any remotely accurate representation of her story, as well as helping to reinforce the “noble savage” trope that I have conflicted feelings about it. That being said, I was looking forward to seeing how I could represent her without resorting to tired or hackneyed accessories and gimmicks. Her outfit is so simple that I knew converting it would be a challenge in sharp contrast to all the previous ones I’ve done, where I’ve had plenty of room for accessories and experimentation. I’m home sick today, dealing with an ear infection, so I thought I’d take advantage of the unexpected time off.
A light brown iromuji, reminiscent of buckskin, seemed like the ideal canvas. I did debate adding suede fringe somewhere but it started to feel like I was veering too far into cheesy costume territory. I remembered I had this lovely subdued brown obi with nature motifs on it, and loved the way the two pieces blended together in a nearly monochrome, uniform way. Unfortunately, the obi is quite short and hikinuki-style, which means the pattern on the tail end is reversed. I’d initially planned to do a relaxed, vintage-feeling obi and I remembered that Naomi had shared a fantastic tutorial for tsunodashi musubi done with a softer, older hikinuki obi. Great timing! It was definitely easy and quick to tie, even in my miserable ear-infected fever state.
Pale blue may seem like an incongruous choice for this outfit, but I chose it to echo the stone on her necklace, and the beaded accents on her tunic. It also had the added benefit of popping really well against the muted brown without being overpowering, which worked out really well. A few beaded accessories from some nearby First Nations communities added the perfect little punch of colour, reminiscent of the fall foliage often surrounding Pocahontas. I’d tried to find a way to include Grandmother Willow when it hit me that right behind her, already waiting happily, were branches of willow buds in a vase that belonged to my own grandmother. How perfect was that? And as I was dressing the mannequin, one of the cats brought down this ridiculous floppy raccoon toy they all love to bits, so of course Meeko had to make a cameo appearance.
We’re so close to the end, you guys! Only Rapunzel is left, and I’m hoping to get her done by the end of the week.
I said I’d be trying to do at least one ikebana arrangement per month, but that was the bare minimum. I was inspired to do a second before April ends.
I wanted this one to feel much more natural and organic, a bit like a rock garden at the edge of a pond. I found the beautiful white and purple ranunculus first, and then found the smaller filler flowers in the exact same colour scheme and knew I wanted to experiment with texture and repetition instead of the more traditional shin/soe/hikae structure of a more vertical arrangement. The roundness of the glass vessel echoes the rocks and the shape of the flowers, and and the colours repeat each other which gives the whole piece a feeling of cohesiveness. This has a very different feel from the last one, which makes me feel very happy. I can’t wait for the next strike of inspiration to hit me!
For this week’s outfit featuring my mint iromuji, I wanted a big departure from the very standard coordination from last week. This adorable kitty haneri is a very deep rich teal, and it struck me that I had a bunch of similar items in various shades of the same colour. I think pairing the iromuji up with them and using cooler lighting than last week’s photo really drives home the point that I was trying to make, that one kimono can look incredibly different with different accessories, and in different situations. Surrounded by the cool tones of the haneri, obi, and hakama the kimono itself leans much more towards the blue side of things than it did against the gold and lavender of last week.
So far, I think this experiment is going swimmingly! I look forward to seeing what else I can do with this piece.
One Kimono Four Ways
I’ve had this 53 Stations of the Tokaido tsukesage for a long time now. I’ve never worn it myself, but I did put it on my friend Frances one day. The obi, by comparison, was an absolute impulse purchase a few weeks ago – I was buying another item from the seller and this was only $10 so I couldn’t say no! Especially since it’s a lovely stylisation of Station 49 – Saka-no-shita, which is a station I don’t have on any items in my collection yet. For the price, its absolutely gorgeous. The bulk of the design is woven in, and then touches are pulled out with beautifully lush embroidery to add depth and texture. It’s a bit slippery to tie, but definitely not the most challenging obi I’ve had to work with.
Generally the rules of kitsuke say not to match the motif on your kimono to the motif on your obi, and to contrast the colour of one against the other. However, when I saw these two pieces next to each other, my mind drifted back to my first experiment in very monochrome and matchy outfits, and I wanted to give it another shot. Rules are an excellent starting point, but sometimes breaking them with forethought and intention can produce some amazing results.
I’ve always loved the peachy pink sunset accents on the kimono and decided to make them pop with the accessories. I feel like this resulted in an overall very calm and serene outfit with a bit of punch, and I love it!
I do apologise for the quality of the photos today; my camera was being difficult so I used my mobile phone camera. It worked, but it’s not ideal. However, I make no apologies for the utterly terrible word-play in the title.
Typically, the rule of thumb for obi/kimono coordination is to choose contrasting colours and motifs. You want the two pieces to pop against each other and then be tied together with accessories. However, monochrome (or nearly monochrome) outfits are becoming more of a trend.
I found this plum tsukesage online and thought it would be a perfect match for the obi I already owned. While under the questionable influence of migraine medication I asked the lovely folks of the Immortal Geisha facebook group if I should go for it, and was actively and heartily encouraged. I tossed out an offer and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Imagine my surprise a week later when I got a shipping notice!
All that being said, I am completely and utterly thrilled with how well these two pieces suit each other. Not only are the base colours nearly identical, but the abstracted half-round peacock motifs perfectly echo the graphic round kiku on the obi. I decided to emphasize those motifs by accenting the outfit with cream and gold accessories, and I don’t think I could be happier!