An Elegant Rustling of Silk
The sensuality of fabrics is one thing that photographs, especially early photographs, cannot
totally reveal. This sumptuousness — the elegant look and feel of fine silk — was, and still
is, one essential part of that sense of “mysterious cool” that is so admired. We can look at
fabrics from the Taisho era in the form of kimono that belonged to an elegant lady. This is
a totally different kind of fashion show. Rather than dwelling on the seasons, or on types of
kimono, thanks to the generosity of the Asano Collection, we will go back to a time when
the only synthetic fabric, rayon, was a novelty.
About Washi Dolls:
Washi is the light, strong traditional Japanese paper made by hand from plant fibers. The word washi literally means “Japanese paper”. Today most paper in Japan is made in large automated mills, but a few hundred families in rural villages continue to make washi by hand in the traditional manner.
In this exhibition, the washi was formed into ningyo or dolls by a master artist about 30 years ago. These are not just any dolls, though. Each doll in the exhibition represents a Kabuki play or dance-drama. We’ll take a look at these extraordinary dolls, their costumes, and the Kabuki plays they represent.
The Shimmer of Silk
One thing old photographs from Japan cannot do is to show us the shimmer of the silk worn in them. In order to get the feeling of the real thing, we have to look at and examine elegant silk kimono. Almost unbelievably, there was a time when synthetic fabrics like polyester simply didn’t exist. Can we even imagine it? Join us on Valentine’s Day for a hands-on lecture as we enjoy the luxurious feeling of natural fibers. Find out the difference between real and fake shibori, between the concepts of hade and shibui, and about some of the textile designs, materials and techniques.
Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a bit of chocolate and champagne!
Helen Moss (Fujima Nishiki-no 藤間錦乃) teaches and performs Japanese classical dance in the elegant Soke Fujima style.
As a “spokesdancer,” she has given workshops and lecture /demonstrations to introduce people of all ages to the beauty of dance and Japanese culture throughout the New York area, recently leading an artist-in-residency series of workshops at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Moss writes and performs concert narration explaining the dances to increase the audience’s understanding and enjoyment. A classically-trained violinist/violist, she has a unique approach to teaching Japanese dance musically to non-Japanese students, enabling them to better interpret the dance.
Ms. Moss is the founding Secretary and one of the instructors with IchiFuji-kai Dance Association, a multicultural non-profit organization representing the Soke Fujima style in the greater New York City area.