I love Japan. I have ever since I was a small child. My Great Aunt Ermie traveled there, and even became friends with a Japanese woman with whom she exchanged Christmas cards each year. Ermie kept all of those Christmas cards in a scrapbook- they were printed in the most beautiful colors, in the most beautiful patterns, on exquisite and delicate papers. I was enchanted, and used to stare at the pages of that scrapbook for hours.
That scrapbook is now unfortunately lost to time, and thinking about it's loss also sets me to thinking about the tragic, devasting, earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that occurred in Japan one year ago. Of course, I am not comparing the loss of a scrapbook to the awful loss of life and home on that occurred on March 11th, 2011. However, many cultural artifacts...such as textiles, were also destroyed forever that day.
Which makes my sister in law Satoko's collection of vintage kimono's and textiles all the more remarkable and precious. It was one of the highlights of my NYC trip to see a fraction of her collection. Each garment had been passed down from an ancestor: grandmother, grandfather, and mother.
Satoko's mother sadly passed away from breast cancer a few years ago, and these garments and textiles that her mother collected and wore are among Satoko's most prized possessions.
I think my favorite textile that Satoko showed me was an unfinished embroidery by her mother...colorful, intricate, poignant.
Textiles are more than decorative and functional objects: they contain love, history, stories and memory.
I was honored that Satko shared her precious collection with me. Thank-you dear sister!