I have not always had an interest in the kimono, although I have always liked traditional ethnic clothing. The beauty of Kimono textiles prompted my first vintage kimono purchase. For this I have to thank my dear friend Andrea Strohmeier; for her daily inspiration and her in-depth knowledge about fabrics.
It took quite a bit of research to find out what exactly was needed to pull together this incredibly beautiful but archaic ensemble. Once I collected all the accessories and undergarments with the help of my Japanese friends, (my deepest gratitude to Miki Saito and Tomoko Sasaki), I was determined to unlock the secrets. Almost everyone I had spoken to immediately pointed out how difficult it was to learn this. Naturally, that was the gauntlet. And so during a stifling hot and humid Tokyo summer, I watched countless YouTube videos and badgered my Japanese friends who possessed this elusive knowledge and practiced, practiced, practiced!
Additionally I worked with a wonderful kimono teacher, Yayoi Richards, and she has helped me to fine tune my techniques. With each lesson, my repertoire keeps expanding. Learning the Japanese language has been such a struggle for me, (I'm Chinese and a hopeless New Yorker), but this language of kitsuke—dressing in kimono, has struck such a cord with me.
Adorning with Kimono is my current project to share this experience of wearing kimono. I do not know yet how this will transform my personal art language. For now, it brings great fulfillment and joy to me—it is the equivalent of making a spontaneous drawing on a new canvas, the canvas of the human body. It is a drawing which cannot be kept; it is an experience of beauty which one can adorn for a short period of time. And, after documentation, the "drawing elements" are returned to their original state of static beauty.