02.05.2013 § Leave a Comment
I don’t know when people stopped learning how to sew. I guess when ready-to-wear became a common thing, maybe after World War II? I wonder how many young people nowadays know how to do the simplest sewing?
During my childhood, when I visited my grandparents with my siblings and cousins, we would run around their house playing like wild kids. One time my grandmother held me down to show me how to sew up a split pair of pants. She showed me the step-back stitch, a stitch technique that would make a strong seam. I was fascinated and learned it with great interest. That was my only official sewing lesson, but I still use the technique whenever I need something firmly sewn.
The other day I was mumbling that I needed to buy another pair of winter trousers, the kind made of wool with a lining to keep me warm in the coldest winter. My husband went to my other closet and pulled out a whole bunch of trousers and asked me what I was planning to do with those. « Read the rest of this entry »
09.04.2013 § Leave a Comment
Only recently did I learn that at one time Isamu Noguchi was married to Li Xianglan, a woman with a fascinating life. This knowledge came as a shock to me, or almost like regret, because Li Xianglan was such a legend and such a prominent figure during my childhood. She was a very famous singer and movie star during my mother’s youth. My mother was her diehard fan and would sing her songs and talk about her all the time. There were no pictures of her in those years because of her mysterious status and I always wondered, how beautiful could she be? What happened to her after she left China? I did not know that she had a long career after she left China using two different names, Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Yoshiko Ōtaka.
15.02.2013 § 2 Comments
I bought this antique lacquer in a small antique store for china and lacquer ware in Kyoto. The store was so small, the aisles so narrow that I felt like I was knocking things off the shelf with every turn or movement. Especially with bulky coats, etc. Anyway, this lacquer ware caught my eye. The color has such elegance and depth that a plastic imitation cannot reproduce.
I used to call this orangish red color “Ming red,” meaning the red color of the Ming Dynasty red lacquer. Some of the rare Song Dynasty lacquer ware I have seen in museums may not look that different to an untrained eye, but their colors are even more elegant and have more depth. The Song Dynasty was about 1000 years ago while the Ming Dynasty existed during the 1500′s. Is it because the older an object becomes, the more patina it develops? Or that the ancient artists had better taste? It is neither. It is because … please guess.
08.02.2013 § Leave a Comment
My search page this morning had a portrait sketch of James Dean and his quote, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” Terrific! What a lucid understanding of life. I did not know that James Dean was so wise—on top of being handsome.
17.01.2013 § Leave a Comment
In October 2011, at the ACT New York conference, I heard Dr. Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, present the subject “Is Fashion Art?” The presentation was very interesting and has gotten me thinking more on this subject every since. I think if anyone should be called an artist in the fashion field, Alexander McQueen would qualify. His work is definitely a statement of his self and his view.
I made these sketches on the same trip, I believe. I visited the Museum at the Fashion Institute, and they happened to have an exhibition with quite a sample of McQueen’s work. Suppose I make a fabric with all that hardware (buckles) dangling? What kind of response would it receive?
11.01.2013 § Leave a Comment
I drove by an animal lying in the middle of the road yesterday morning. By the time I had passed by I recognized it as a cat instead of a raccoon or a skunk. The worst part was that it was still struggling, not dead. My mind hurt to see her body twisting over and over again and all the cars just speeding by, mine included. The scene remained in my mind for a long time, still visible today when reminded.
I was wondering why I felt sadder after I discovered it was a cat. Is it normal that we respond more to beings that are closer to humans? Or how our minds think of a raccoon or a skunk differently than a cat? « Read the rest of this entry »
27.12.2012 § 1 Comment
I joined a community choir near work. I will see if I can insist on finishing this term despite my busy schedule. I believe that singing can be a stress release and, with all that breathing practice, is good for my health.
They tested my range and put me in with the sopranos. I should really be a mezzo-soprano, but we do not have enough sopranos, so I am one now. By the time I have to reach high G, I am literally screaming. The conductor, who is an Emory Music School graduate, has such a beautiful voice. She demonstrates a lot, and I feel like I am getting a free recital every Monday evening. She gave us “Nella Fantasia” to learn; what beautiful melody and lyrics! I had heard this song before but did not know the meaning until now. I had goose bumps when I read the lyrics in translation while she was demonstrating the high notes. Here is the song and a touching Cinderella story about a singer from Korea.
05.09.2012 § Leave a Comment
31.07.2012 § Leave a Comment
When my children were learning violin during their youth, they got into it pretty competitively. I was a bit worried when they went to sporting events that they would hurt their hands and not be able to practice violin for a long time or that they would hurt themselves in such a way that they would lose their fingers’ sensitivity and would not be able to play as well.
Likewise, I realized that I rely on my eyes to make my living. To keep my eyes healthy and maintain good color sense is an important thing. « Read the rest of this entry »
23.07.2012 § Leave a Comment
In linguistics, manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound.
This morning I needed to look up a few English words while studying Japanese. I was thrilled to learn these new words because they are so rare to me; that always piques my interest. I had come across these terms in Chinese when I was serving the Chinese language school as a volunteer teacher. Now learning Japanese in English is like killing two birds with one stone: I get to learn both languages. « Read the rest of this entry »