As mentioned in a previous post, I am redecorating my bathroom. I am nearly finished and hope to have photos of the results to show you in the next couple of weeks. One of the influences of the new scheme is vintage kimono designs as I mentioned, so I thought I would take the opportunity now to give you some background on this excellent source of design. If you researched kimono design over the centuries, I daresay you would find that an extraordinary amount of effort went into the designs on these garments which is why I find them so inspiring.
I have always been a fan of Japanese design, but it was seeing the film "Memoirs of a Geisha" that really sparked my interest. A few years ago, I went to Los Angeles to visit and stay with a very dear friend of mine who happens to work in costume design on films. At the time I was staying with her, she was working on "Memoirs of a Geisha". It was fantastic to gain insight into the process behind costume design. The film takes place during the 1920's-1940's (my favourite era). Although vintage kimonos were purchased for the film, they were mainly used for research purposes. Each of the main characters' kimonos were designed and made from scratch. Fabrics were meticulously stencilled, hand painted and screen printed. Colours and patterns were chosen to suit the personality of the character. I was amazed at the amount of thought and detail that went into the process and seeing the results, it is no surprise that the film went on to win the Oscar for costume design. It was a couple of years before I saw the film, but I had to watch it twice back to back: once to follow the story and the second time to revel in the design. It is worth purchasing this film on DVD so that you can pause it to see the detail of the design and pattern and also because there is an excellent extra on the costume design. It was a great priviledge to watch the film having had insight into the work and effort that went on behind the scenes.
We have a Japanese room in our house which will feature in a future post as part of our "Tour of The Stencilled Home" series. I thought I would preview one aspect of this bedroom. On one of the main walls, we made 3 fabric kimonos which are hung as art.
Of course, each one is stencilled. Although the bedroom is stencilled in Japanese designs, the kimonos themselves are stencilled in a variety of designs from different eras. The kimono on the left features an enlarged version of our Art Nouveau repeat DE234. The kimono in the middle is stencilled with the extra large size of MD53 Stars from our Modern Design range as a background with a huge version of our JA90 Sun stencil applied with Dutch Metal Gold transfer leaf in the centre. The kimono on the left has a large version of DE31 Border from our Arts & Crafts range and JA2 Raindrops from our Japan range. We can custom size stencils so just ask us if you need this option. Just in case you are interested, the design on the wall is the large size of MD35 Chrysanthemums. Here are two photos of our hand drawn plans for the kimono designs so you can see how we planned the arrangement and colours:
In this photo, you can see a page from a kimono design book we used as inspiration as well:
If you are looking for inspiration for pattern, then I thoroughly recommend that you research kimono design even if you are not particularly interested in oriental style. It is a treasure trove of colour, pattern and arrangement. R.