Bebe Taian: When I was 13...

May 6, 2018

When I was 13...

When I was 13, I finally had some money gifted to me to pursue my interests. I think around this time I had paid off my first sewing machine. There were extremely few online sellers of kimono, with almost no information about formalities or types. Most sites in English were about how to tie yukata, not layers of kimono. They definitely didn't tell me about everything I needed to wear them. This was before even Youtube existed. Even damaged kimono were extremely expensive... obi were harder to find. Mostly it was cheap Chinese knockoffs, the kind for Halloween costumes and tourists. If I'd had a lot more money then, I could have purchased a very large bundle from Yokodana and sorted them out, but I could never afford it then.

So, of course not knowing better, I bought some fabric (which was still expensive to 13 year old me, working under the table for it) and started drawing what I would have liked to have seen. I had ningyo from Nishi Co. for inspiration and some photos of maiko and geiko circa 1960s (postcards from my paternal grandfather) and 1990s. I can't believe the ink has lasted this long. Also not knowing how to do proper embroidery, I figured if I set some gold thread in first, I could fill it in later when I was better at embroidering large areas. I tackled it like a test at school- do all the easy stuff first, then go back for the hard parts.

Clearly I didn't finish making it into an obi. I didn't have nearly enough. And being 13, even then, I didn't finish most of my craft projects... I was always so, so busy. School, work, homework, chores, making food, cleaning up, sometimes a friend??? babysitting, school, reading... there is never enough time in life.

I found this fabric again, bright daidaiiro red (the camera makes it look a little more pink-toned). I don't know what I should do with it. Clearly, it isn't finished. It isn't even of decent quality. I was just learning about fabrics then, without many resources at all to tell the difference between good and bad. Why do books never come with fabric samples, or at least up-close, detailed photos? But even so, I don't want to throw it out. Besides being something I had worked on, it's perfectly serviceable fabric... hnnn.

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