There is an excellent exhibition of Japanese kimono on at the moment at Dalgarven Mill, Kilwinning, until 15th December. As kimono are so varied in design and it is very rare every to see two identical designs together (even for modern kimono), another person's kimono collection is always a 'must see' for fellow kimono collectors like myself. Before we went, I'd seen a few photos online, but somehow had failed to spot the owner and curator of the exhibition - Sue Selwyn, who was one of my original group of sashiko students at The Studio, Loch Lomond, back in 2013, and we were in the same class for our City and Guilds Patchwork and Quilting Diploma class at Gillian Cooper's studio a few years ago. I knew about her kimono collection, but I didn't know how many she had. Sue has a very good eye for design and, since she began collecting about 10 years ago, has assembled a beautiful collection on numerous trips to Japan. The exhibition shows mainly the more formal end of kimono, houmongi and up in formality levels, with a focus of yuzen and embroidery. This kimono, with yuzen dyed aoi (hollyhocks) leaves on a very large scale rinzu silk damask, with embroidered details, is early Showa era (1930s).
There is plenty of information about each kimono. Some are displayed on tailor's dummies while some of the more fragile ones were hung at the back of the displays. Everything was raised on on staging and well lit, so the details are easy to see. Below, two uchikake, wedding robes - the white one with the cranes and plum blossoms is 1960s while the red one, with peacocks and pine boughs, is 1990s.
Heisei era houmongi (below) with sparkly lurex in the weave and tsujigahana tie dyed decoration.
A beautiful example of meisen dyeing (above).
Late Showa era furisode (left above) and houmongi (right) - the darker furisode has Bingata inspired designs, while the shibori tie dyed houmongi looks like it was originally furisode, but had the sleeves shortened when the original owner married.
Late Showa era red bridal furisode, with machine embroidered designs (below).
The green furisode below is 1960s, while the pink houmongi in front of it is very early Showa era.
The crested houmongi on the left was stunning.
This Heisei era houmongi has quite modern embroidery.
The earliest kimono in the exhibition were late Meiji era. There were many very fine examples of delicate yuzen dyeing.
Worth a visit if you can get there!
The mill has a large costume collection of its own and a complimentary exhibition of export kimono and kimono influenced robes, with parasols and other accessories made for the Western market, was in another gallery upstairs. There are also extensive exhibitions of rural life, including room sets, on the upper floors.
This 1/16th scale dolls house was in the kimono gallery. It was completely hand made for the owner and is a modern build, but with great details.
The museum owners have just finished restoring another building on the site, which may be used for other events or as a gallery, and we are talking about having a boro and sashiko exhibition there sometime in 2021. As soon as we have something arranged, I'll let you know!