Friday, August 31, 2012

Samurai prints: Pattern, Shape and Color

"Two Samurai"

                                  No surprise that I'm crazy for the patterns, jagged shapes, and rich colors found in 18th-19th c Japanese prints.  The Samurai especially are such an amazing mash-up of testosterone and wallpaper, swords and camellias.
In the Kunisada above, I love the skinny line of black-on-green flowers that splits the composition straight down the middle, putting the two warriors in separate spaces and defying the first rule any painting teacher will tell you -- Don't divide the canvas in half, your eye can't resolve it into a whole.  Notice in the detail above how the corners of their robes cross the line and touch.


.... shark teeth tunic with swirly, oceany, seaweedy pants


Look at this guy with a skull hovering above his electric hair, holding a mega-sized bamboo-- what is that weapon? some kind of giant blow-gun?  Meanwhile leaves are fluttering about, settling on his Samurai pants printed with little blue flowers-- Forget-Me-Nots? Pansies?.....and at his feet is what appears to be blown peony or Southern Magnolia blossom.
I love the arm and leg coverings-- maybe chain mail with padding?


.... the patterns continue on his legs, chest and face.

Japanese School- 19th c


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sewing: Kimono Tops based on Paul Poiret dress

                                            This is a top I made last year based on the Paul Poiret dress shown below. I adapted the pattern from a store bought dress that was similar.
The paisley fabric is from a pair of palazzo pants I sewed 15 years ago. (The legs were so wide and flowy that my foot would catch in them going up and down stairs; rather than break my neck, I quit wearing them.) To make the side panels I split the legs along the inseam and used the outer seams for the side-seams of the top.  The fabric in the center panel is a scrap I've had in my sewing basket for 10-plus years.

I'm in the process of making another top out of rayon challis, refining my original pattern, and using an old sheet for the muslin.

                         For the neckband I'm using a remnant from one of my sister's sewing projects. I would like to have made it a little wider, but it was a very small scrap.

For a long time I've had an idea about "The Dress"-- one pattern that's extremely comfortable, pretty, fun and easy to make. This might be it.  I'd like to continue to experiment with different combinations of prints, colors, and textures, as well as subtle alterations in gathering, and maybe some trimmed pockets?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ayako Miyawaki: Sea Creatures and Cicada on fans

Photo credits: Catalog published by the Asahi Shimbun and the National Museum of Women in the Arts for the 1991 exhibition: "Ayako Miyawaki, the Art of Japanese Applique"