My Kimono Series started in earnest with my “Red Kimono” in 2010. For reasons far too complex for this missive, the kimono has become a symbol for me of the love, generosity and creativity of my sister Mary Jean Spaeder Olivelli. Seven years my senior, MJ was my best friend growing up and taught me early basics about drawing and painting. When she went to college to study art, she brought home lessons that she in turn taught me which gave me a hunger to do art as well. Mary Jean completed a career as an art teacher and was just about ready to launch some full time serious efforts at her own painting after retirement when she lost her life in a tragic scuba diving accident in Puerto Rico. It is in her honor and with her inspiration, that I began this series. The challenge I put to myself was to use the kimono image and incorporate techniques used normally with textiles or fibers; techniques such as weaving or lace-making, trapunto, quilting or chenille. Along the way, I would incorporate little things that are part of her memory as well as concepts that are currently of interest to me. Some hidden gems will remain known only to me. My original goal was to complete at least ten before calling the series complete. You will note that the number of kimonos has currently exceeded the original goal. Many of the original “rules” have been abandoned as the series took on a life of its own.
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