The completed embroidered assessment piece for Module Two is a Kimono based on the design topic of animal markings.
How do you feel about the resulting conclusion?
I am pleased with the resulting conclusion. The kimono has turned out just as I had visualised it when I first had the idea. It fulfils everything I wanted of it. It gave me great joy during the making of it and it continues to give me pleasure as I look at it and wear it. I wanted to achieve a rhythm and flow across all the surfaces of the garment, to reflect the fact that it was conceived as a costume for Nanki Poo the wandering minstrel from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado. I tried to portray the rhythms of music in the flow of different tones and textures across the garment and I think I achieved that.
Is it fit for its purpose – give reasons?
I believe it is fit for its purpose. In a practical sense it is a garment that is well made and comfortable to wear. It was intended as a costume for a young man in the operetta, who is really the son of the Mikado and so of high status, although he is pretending to be a penniless wandering minstrel, “a thing of shreds and patches”. In Japan, clothing is full of subtle hints and messages about the wearer’s status, family and taste and I wanted this garment to do this. It should be a patched, poor person’s clothing, while at the same time expressing subtle hints that its wearer was of high status. I think it has achieved this. The technique of applying patches which were secured with rows of simple running stitch was one used by poor peasants to extend the life of a worn garment. Fabrics beyond even patching were torn into strips and re-woven into a new fabric and this technique too is used in the kimono. Many features were inspired by photographs of an antique fisherman’s coat. On the other hand, many of the hand-embroidered patches are so labour-intensive that they could only be afforded by a rich person. High status in Japan is indicated by labour-intensive and complex decoration and this gives a clue that the wearer is not the poor minstrel that he appears to be.
If you were asked to make it again, what changes would you make to the way you designed it and the way you made it?
I am really pleased with the results and would not change much. One source of satisfaction for me is that most of the fabrics were dyed and printed by me. It slightly irks me that the plain dark blue fabric is a commercially dyed one. If I were to make it again, I think I would try to dye the plain dark blue fabric myself. I am not certain that this would be possible because the busy quality of the patterned areas of the garment need the contrast of the quiet flat areas of the plain dark blue. I am not sure that I am accomplished enough at dyeing to achieve this even colour by dyeing at home.