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Fashioning Kimono

By Carol Giffi, Memorial Art Gallery visitor

skyscraper“Have you seen the kimono exhibit at the MAG?” I have asked that question over the past few weeks. “Kimono?” “No,” has been the answer. Wrong answer.

My daughter Cathy and I visit the MAG often when she visits from New York City. We are a pair, bonded by our appreciation—dare I say addiction?—for art. And, the MAG is a willing co-conspirator. MAG offers a variety of exhibits—both permanent and travelling—to tempt us.

At first, Cathy and I would “pick and choose” the exhibits and artists that have traditionally appealed to us: Georgia O’Keefe and Maxfield Parrish. Very safe. We were not disappointed. At some point, however, we realized that there was a whole world of art out there that we were missing. “Outside of out comfort zone,” if you will. And, so, we opened up our views and have become even greater lovers of art.

cranes2A kimono exhibit? Certainly this was outside our usual impressionists and Old Masters. “Fashioning Kimono” came to town, and we were among the first to visit the gallery and experience the docent-led tour. We “made an afternoon of it” by including the MAG’s illustrated lecture featuring Annie Van Assche, “The Kimono and Western Dress in the Early 20th century: A Revolution in Fashion.”

Cathy and I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit—kimono displayed with perfection in the grand gallery. We “ooo-ed” and “ahh-ed” at the variety of fabrics and color combinations.

The afternoon lecture found me taking out my notebook and sketching kimono—for what? For a quilt! I am a quilter, and I enjoy creating my own designs and patterns from experiences in my life. I jotted notes on colors and collar styles. Dimensions and sleeves. I felt myself getting more and more excited as I listened and sketched!

Then, the “at-home” fun began! A pattern was created out of the sketches and lecture notes. And, a quilt was born!
2010-3-7-Kimono Quilt 002
For me this demonstrates the best of the best in art: Art as an experience begetting a personal experience with art! For that I am grateful to MAG’s team of curators for allowing me to experience “Fashioning Kimono.”


Comment from Marie Via
Time: April 1, 2010, 3:24 pm

This is so great to hear, Carol — thanks! And we’d love to hear from anybody else who has been inspired by a MAG visit!

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