I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture - the food, the clothing, and the history. It seems so exotic compared to my own western culture. Kimonos have always fascinated me as well. They are supremely elegant and Shizuka Kusano’s embroidery is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Shizuka Kusano has been embroidering in the Japanese style for over 40 years and her work has been showcased around the world. The Fine Art of Kimono is a culmination of her embroidery career. The book is filled with photographs of kimono, obi, and tapestries with the most beautiful delicate work. The colors are luminous, warm or cool, the detail is extraordinary. She uses only silk threads and fabric and the result is luxurious.
Her work is based on Japanese poetry, literature, and art, including the famous Tale of Genji. There are also examples of her work taken from nature, beautiful cherry and plum blossoms or spider chrysanthemums. Each photograph has a short caption describing the scene the kimono depicts. There are even close-up photographs to better show off the detail work.
This book also includes a history of Japanese embroidery, which was brought over from China along with Buddhism. There is also a section in which Kusano talks about her first experiences with sewing - and how she loathed it. It was not until she became a mother and sewed her son’s baby clothes did she began to love it.
As an artist I am in awe of Kusano's work. I have never had any talent with a needle and thread but her work is truly inspiring. The Fine Art of Kimono Embroidery, with its history and beautiful photographs, is perfect for a coffee table or for anyone lucky enough to be able to work a silken thread.