Bebe Taian: June 2015

June 21, 2015

Natsu Matsuri is Next Saturday!

OMG it's time already! I spent so long waiting for this week to come, and now it's here, and where did all the time go? The older I get, the faster I notice it slipping by.

Natsu Matsuri, the annual Summer Festival in Tampa, is next Saturday. I'll have a booth all to myself for a few hours. It only runs from 9am-12noon, since it gets really hot this time of year. I wish it did run longer, though, at least until 2pm. It would give us late-risers and night-shift workers a chance at attending! I don't know about you, but if I work at a gas station, call centre, or even as a first responder (EMS, police, whatever) until 2am, I am NOT getting up at 8am to go to a festival! ::sighs:: Even so, the organizers really do a wonderful job every year, working within the event location that we have. And they managed to secure a wonderful covered location that is large enough for us to spread out a bit, all under a cement pavilion, which helps us avoid the rain and wind of previous years.

I can't wait to break out some of the things I am bringing this year! I should probably get to sewing a bit, to have some handmade crafts for the event, but I don't know that I want to put forth effort on low-demand traditional goods. Unfortunately, competing means having large sums of start-up capital, something I've never had for niche-market projects. I do want to do something different this year, though! I may make a series of magnets or other items to showcase traditional Japanese beauty, and bring high-quality prints of ukiyo-e art to demonstrate that kimono are indeed wearable, and have been for two thousand years.

If you're in the Tampa, FL area, be sure to come by! We're at Christ the King Church on the corner of Henderson and S Dale Mabry Hwy.

June 4, 2015

It's Too Early for Ro, But...

I know it's two months too early for ro, but I seem to only have two sha kimono and a total lack of sha accessories. Really, I preferred only awase kimono for so long that I never bothered buying anything sheer, despite living in such a hot climate. I didn't want to deal with having only sha or ro accessories, juban, haneri, everything when they're only seasonally relevant for a month or two each in the strictest sense. It's very expensive! But now, I'm much more comfortable with my skill of wearing kimono, so finally I've come to terms and started trading out for gauzy things.

... well, it isn't just that. It's also that I'm really self-conscious, so I don't even really have any transparent yofuku either. I wear layers and long sleeves in public pretty often, even in the heat. If I could, I'd dress modestly for an Alaskan, but it's way too hot here.

That being said, I wanted to get dressed for an impromptu meeting at the local teahouse, Kalesia's. But I only have one really viable sha kimono, which is the blue one that keeps showing up in photos, since the other is a fragile Taisho piece that almost feels like stiff, thick paper. The risk of buying antiques: some are too fragile to wear when they arrive. That, paired with the lack of proper accessories, brought me to ro fabric. 80F+ is way too hot to even think about lined kimono! I wanted something bright and colourful. Only one option there: my muted purple kimono with faux-sashiko bishamon kikko in white.

I have a few ro obi, all of which match the kimono- do I do subtle 'older' proper woman, and go with a pale wheat-gold obi with dragons embroidered on it? Black and white hakata? Nah. Let's go bold. I've felt awful with anxiety for weeks. To heck with this. Let's do BRIGHT! A bold salmon-orange 1960s fukuro obi with white, sky-blue, and buttery yellow nadeshiko and metallic gold grass embroidered all over, a faded yellow silk obiage old enough to buy it's own liquor, and a pale pink obijime with a wide, open weave.

The juban is a thin, slightly rough fabric printed with asanoha in a shade of salmon so brilliantly neon that it actually hurts to look at. Under the kimono, it takes on a new dimension. Too bad it's so short! If it were a foot longer, it'd be perfect for me... but I wore it anyways. I adore it too much to worry. I need to make a pair of blue  hanao for the shoes sometime. I've got so much gorgeous fabric... but I never get it done... I think my favourite accessory was this fluffy long scarf that my friend gave me, with gathers similar to shibori, echoing the shibori in the obiage. The Bolivian bag my father sent me from Samaipata ties all of these brilliant colours together.

After the teahouse, we went to the bookstore to look around. Mojo Books is a great place for offbeat stuff that you won't find at a Barnes + Noble (and yeah, some things you will).

I do need to get better at tying Ginza musubi, to make it 'fluffier' at the bottom. I was mostly worried about pulling the fabric on such an old obi, but I might yet find a way that works. It's such a floppy, soft obi too, so it's definitely one of my favourites! If it ever tears, I'll (maybe cry a little) probably frame a section as art. I'll keep practicing! <3