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!
At last, we’re coming to the end of this month’s theme project. It’s been fun, but honestly I am glad it’s over. I’m getting a little tired of this iromuji! For the last outfit, I decided to try to accomplish the one thing this style of kimono can be very difficult to do; a simple, casual cooordinate. Typically, iromuji can be a lot of things, but relaxed town-wear is not one of them. To make it work, I stuck with otherwise casual pieces. A coloured haneri, a bright meisen haori, and one of my favourite nagoya obi all in shades of purple all pop against the cool mint tone of the kimono itself. The early-afternoon sunlight today helped to keep things soft and warm. I’m not sure this outfit was as successful as some of my other attempts during this experiment, but I do really love how the haori and kimono look together.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with his whole experiment. It’s been really interesting to work within the constraints of the one single kimono. I may do it again sometime later with something other than an iromuji, to make it more of a challenge. I’ve also got some fun craft projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you all.
One Kimono Four Ways
It’s been a long week! I was called in to work for two extra days, and as much as I love my job everyone has a limit before the start getting a bit crabby, right? Thankfully today I was able to stay home and work on some things that didn’t require leaving the house, so when time came to take a little break I decided to use that time productively and work with an obi I got recently and had no idea what to do with.
Naomi found this obi on Yahoo Japan literally years ago, and it had been sitting in a box ever since, following her around as she moved. She finally found the time to mail it to me and man, was it ever worth the wait. I love crustacean motifs, and this obi is no exception. It’s a gorgeous old chuuya obi with crabs and lobsters on the purple side. The other side is more “normal”, featuring a design of flowers and drums on solid black. It’s a nice bonus, to be certain, but this obi really is all about the pinchy sea creatures! It’s in rough shape, and the design placement is very odd, which makes it hard to tie. Eventually I’m going to turn it into a reversible tsuke-obi but until then I figured I could find a way to make it work on the mannequin.
The kimono is one of the first casual-style kimono I ever purchased and to this day it remains one of my favourites it work with. It’s a thick, woven silk which makes it slightly rough and a dream to tie because it grips and stays where you put it. The pattern has always reminded me of fishing nets, so it seemed like a match made in crustacean heaven! I decided to run with orange accessories to emphasize the pattern, and realised afterwards that the shibori obiage is also vaguely reminiscent of fish roe, which was an accident but works perfectly. Unfortunately, I now have the Big Bag of Crabs song from Weebl’s Stuff stuck in my head. Things could be worse, I suppose!
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!
This year is shaping up to be a doozy when it comes to celebrity deaths. When I heard about Prince’s passing, I remembered how cathartic making a coordination in Bowie’s memory was that I figured I would fight through my current health issues and see what I could do. Of course, being in honour of Prince, I had to start with purple. I decided to do a monochrome outfit with a bit of flash and flair. Purple hakama, purple and silver lamé komon, purple shibori haneri, and even the obi (despite nearly being hidden) is entirely purple. I’m not used to monochrome kitsuke, but I have to say, I really like it. It’s a very effective way to showcase patterns and textures, and I think I’m going to attempt it more often.
Now, 2016, do you think you could lay off on taking musical icons from us for a few months? That would be great, thanks. As much as these memorial coordinations help me cope, I’d be perfectly happy not doing another one for a long time.