In the fall of 2006 my sister-in-law, Sara, and I were at an art opening downtown where we spied a young woman wearing a dress that had us enthralled. It was modern and clean-lined yet reminiscent of a kimono somehow. It was nothing off the rack; rather something an artist had designed and sewn. As we stared at her from across the room we suddenly noticed she was with an older woman — clearly her mother — who was dressed in a kimono. That clinched it; we had to compliment the two women on their unique style.
We had a pleasant chat and discovered the young woman, Mayumi Takayama, was indeed an artist and would be showing her work as part of the weekend's Open Art Studio Event. We picked up a brochure and promised to stop by the next day. We discovered her studio was essentially her apartment and her mother was visiting from Japan. Mayumi was a painter and Sara and I both liked her work but much of it was sold when we got there.
We were also delighted with the jewelry that Mayumi's mother had created and was selling. While we looked at it, she made us macha tea which we enjoyed while we all talked about art and textiles.
The fiber necklaces pictured here were all made by Mayumi's mother (whose name I seem to have lost). They're made out of recycled pieces of kimono fabrics, sewn into tubes of different lengths and widths and softly stuffed.
They're embellished with beads, buttons, embroidery and fabric-covered tubes of different sizes. On some necklaces the cords wind around your neck and go through the tubes which you can slide up and down to reconfigure the design. Other necklaces have slipknots which also let you make the piece longer or shorter.
Some are just long lariats which you can wear with the ends hanging free or knot or tie however you wish. Every necklace is different but they're all lightweight and versatile. They're fun to wear and garner lots of compliments. And they're great inspiration if you sew and have the inevitable fabric stash.