The mandala with the fish that I recently featured in the "Harvest Moon" post prompted me to include the photo of this hand painted silk kimono that I designed and created upon silk crepe de chine several years ago. Koi fish are a classic motif for silk kimonos but, for this garment, I wanted to combine the fish with unexpected design elements to create the juxtaposition of classic with contemporary themes. My fabric design inspirations come from many places. In this case, the golden lines that run diagonally across the fabric began formulating in my mind after I saw some advertisements that featured computer components and time release photographs of lights on cars as they drove through the night on busy city streets.
My foray into wearable art began 22 years ago when I moved to Florida for five years. it reflects the manifestation of the seed of a dream I had planted in my consciousness ten years before it grew into fruition. The journey from Iowa to Florida was born from listening to my inner voice. In 1976 I purchased a publication that featured an article on silk painting. The kimonos shown in the photographs made me feel like a small child yearning for a beautiful new doll in a toy shop window. I was transfixed by the content of this article and told myself that I was going to do that form of art some day.
Nine years passed. Thanksgiving morning in 1984 I was awakened from a dream by a message repeatedly telling me to move to Florida. After six months of contemplating this directive and finally deciding that moving there would somehow jump start my art career to a new level, I sold as much of my belongings as possible, packed up the car and drove with my son, and daughter, then ages 8 and 5, to take up residence in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Within a few weeks I came across a tiny ad in the miscellaneous section of the "Help Wanted" newspaper ads asking for someone skilled in sewing on silk who could do occasional fashion illustrations. I was experienced in both of these areas. The next day I drove a half hour to be interviewed for the position and was immediately hired. By fall, the owner of the shop, Wanda Baxter of http://www.silks.com/ , offered me her studio to explore silk painting techniques and to see if I had an affinity for it. From the moment I put dye on my brush and swept it across an expanse of two yards of silk crepe de chine stretched upon a frame, I began a love affair with painting upon silk with fiber reactive dyes. It literally took my breath away and lifted my spirit into another level of consciousness. I cannot even begin to describe the sense of ecstasy I felt while engrossed in creating with this medium. Exquisite might come close. My work relationship with Wanda continued for 15 years, continuing on a long distance basis when I returned to the Midwest in 1989, where my experience as a silk fabrications designer provided me with the opportunity to work with several prominent Omaha, Nebraska interior designers. The skill I had acquired in Florida truly did fulfill my intent for moving there by elevating my art career to a new level.