Yesterday a group of us met at the gallery to celebrate the show. It was fabulous to see the kimonos hanging in a gallery - and they were hung absolutely beautifully - with such excellent lighting.
The first venue where we displayed the kimonos was our local quilt show and we constructed nearly 30 stands on which to hang them. Half of the stands are 36" high and half are 48" high. The kimonos were draped over the stands and could be walked around and viewed from both sides. This meant that both sides of a kimono were finished and some artists choose to have slightly (or very) different designs on each side. We were uncertain how that original intent (the double-sided kimono) would translate to hanging on a wall with only one side visible.
While many of them are just as interesting on the reverse side, we were thrilled with how well they worked hanging on a wall in the gallery setting. Four of the kimonos were displayed on our stands and showing the three-dimensional aspect of just a few of them really added to the exhibit.
The pieces aren't meant to be actual kimonos, but are inspired by the shape or form of a kimono. The guideline given to each artist was the size of the three pieces needed (the "sleeves" and "body" of the shape), and then they were given free reign in creating either surface-designed cloth in the appropriate sizes or actual stitched art quilts, or a combination of these. Some artists chose to stitch the three pieces together to form one unit, while others left them separate. Some works are sheer and layered and others are heavily quilted. Some are heavily embellished and others are not. A number of the artists chose to be inspired by Japanese imagery or techniques as well. The wide variety of expression is given cohesion by the common shape.
If you have an opportunity, please come visit the gallery to see the exhibit - now through August 31.