10.21.2010

SPECIAL OFFER! SILK KIMONO SCARVES BY JUDYTH VAN AMRINGE


Judyth Van Amringe is an artist of metamorphosis; everything she touches, whether clay, glass, silk or steel, is transformed into something wondrous.

She has recently become enchanted by vintage fabrics, in particular old pieces of Japanese kimonos that are no longer wearable as garments. They are made of silk, wool, or silk and wool blends--though the silks have the softest hand and the easiest drape. The fabrics date from about 1900 onward.




















Judyth hunts down the fabrics in the thriving online marketplace; she buys with an eye to the vibrancy of color and pattern. The range of her collection is breathtakingly beautiful. 


In making a scarf--or a shawl or wrap, as she makes wider pieces as well--she combines different colors and patterns, so that there is no "wrong" side. They are reversible, if you will. And she often stitches a third pattern to either or both ends to lengthen the piece. The artistry is in the unusual, unpredictable combinations she creates; she creates startling contrasts, and they work.

Judyth also embellishes some of the pieces with subtle embroidery of her own, or she adds lines of intricate beadwork. Each piece is unique, of course. And they are quite comfortable to wear--either at the opera, or to the market. I happen to think scarves are indispensable to the well-dressed person, as they cover a multitude of sins, or lift a pretty shirt into another dimension of elegance! I have not taken mine off since I got it, even if I'm wearing jeans.










She also creates evening bags of heavier obi fabrics, using silk cords, tassels, and beadwork. 


I guarantee that you will not see yourself coming and going at your next party.


I'm beginning to think about holiday gifts, and readers already know that I am a champion of the artisanal. I love buying things that are made by hand, and one of a kind, and I believe in supporting the artists and crafters among us. They are bewitching. 

Judyth is not represented by a gallery, these days--the case with many artists. But I talked to her about whether she would create scarves by special order for readers of Slow Love Life. If you are interested in buying her work, contact her by email at Jvanamringe@aol.com. She works out of her house in Providence, Rhode Island. Let her know the general color palette you enjoy--or ask for a surprise. She will also consult with you by phone. By the way, these scarves are as appropriate for men as for women. Prices will vary according to size and embellishment, but will run from about $150 to $400, completely reasonable for the quality of work involved.

And while we are on the subject of kimonos...let me tell you about one of my favorite books in the world: The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon. I have returned to it constantly over the years--it is the sort of book you can dip in and out of, and read in no particular order. Sei Shonogan was a lady-in-waiting to Japan's Empress Sadako; she lived from 965 to 1020--and this is a diary, kept under her pillow, of her time at court; it is filled with rambling musings of moonlit nights with lovers, errant courtiers, and, of course, the pageantry of court robes. She made wonderful lists, too, of elegant things, and things she despised. She seems to have been a bit of a wild child underneath that propriety; a romantic, outspoken woman who was snobbish, even decadent at times, but as well vulnerable, wistful, acerbic, frank, sparklingly funny and devastatingly opinionated. Looking at the piles of fabric in Judyth's sewing room, I could easily imagine the glamour and beauty of court life in Japan.

33 comments:

quintessence said...

How beautiful!! These would have been wonderful at Takashimaya - so sad about that store. And the book sounds fabulous - but I shouldn't be allowed even one more purchase in that category - you can barely get to my side of the bed!!

Madgew said...

Having just return from Japan yesterday where the scarf is the rage. I appreciate her craftsmanship.

Hal O'Brien said...

I have long said Sei Shonagon was the first blogger, and in Europe we had nothing like her until Pepys. Hard to say if that's true, though -- it may only be a question of what's survived.

Elizabeth Greene said...

This has nothing to do with this particular blog post but I didn't know how else to leave a message. Just read your article about long hair in the online NYT and wanted to thank you for going where others fear to tress, I mean tread. I silently seethe when snide comments are made about long gray or any color hair on women over a certain age. And I like the return to the headband suggestion. Maybe even add a few beads and feathers. Thank you for taking this subject on.
Elizabeth Greene, CA

Maria Petrova said...

Dominique — I was just reading the NYT and at the TOP of the most emailed list I saw the article, clicked on it, saw the pic, THOUGHT OF YOU, then SAW YOUR NAME as the author... It's splendid!!! Congrats!

TeaButterfly said...

Sei's Pillow Book is also my "favorite books in the world"... I can see a trend here Dominique! ;-) Yes, i love caterpillars, and I blog about them, too, and Ialso love to watch flowers slowly wither & fade...

Btw, not to sound too bookish, but Sei is one my heroines, so you must correct her name in your blog post, because it's Shonagon, not Shonogan!

my best,

Vic from TeaButterfly, France.

Karena said...

Dominique I don't think I have ever seen such beautiful fabrics and designs!! I adore Judyth's works of art!!

oxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Cindy La Ferle said...

These are beautiful, and appreciate your sharing these works of art. Like you, I love to purchase one-of-a-kind, artisan gifts.

I am so thrilled to learn about your blog and your new book. I have read your other book, loved it, and followed your career for years. I miss your essays in the magazine, so it's a delight and a relief to find you here! Congrats on the new book.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

What gorgeous scarves! I usually choose rather plain clothing, but I like to accessorize with interesting jewelry (some from my grandmother's jewelry box) and some handcrafted by artists. I also love scarves and a really good handbag!

mary said...

Being a vintage fabric collector (not quite an addict) with a love of Japanese culture, these scarves make my heart sing. Such beauty--and the saving of of jewels that would otherwise be cast off.

mary said...

Being a vintage fabric collector (not quite an addict) with a love of Japanese culture, these scarves make my heart sing. Such beauty--and the saving of of jewels that would otherwise be cast off.

Dave said...

I liked your NYT piece about long hair in women of a certain age. I usually find it beautiful whether it's black, brown, gray, or silver.

Maria Petrova said...

You are STILL #1 most emailed! I'm SO HAPPY FOR YOU! Looking forward to another book!

Julia said...

Your article is wonderful. How common is that we are at "certain age" still hear all the comments of our moms and they still hurt. Like we are still 15. This will never change. But I wish our moms will be here forever and let them make those comments for 50 years more.

Frank B. Moran said...

Enjoyed your Yahoo article and jumped to blog. Well done and entertaining.
Cisco

modhomeecroom said...

I just discovered your blog. (No doubt you've heard that many times)
You eloquently address my 54 year old angst. I feel great, energetic, revitalized. We need to let women our age know that we're just getting started. I've been looking for good role models in this age bracket. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Meg said...

Were you by chance one of my math students at Westhill HS in Stamford Ct. in 1981? If yes, then it would be fun to reconnect. If not then I will just enjoy your blog.
Meg M

Meg said...

I should have said 1971 not 1981. Math teacher indeed! And yes, I just read about you in the Stamford Advocate, you are the Dominique Browning I remember from back then. You and Jill Walen. I would love to hear from you.

Jayne said...

Tresses in the Times! If you are blessed with thick gorgeous grey locks, I say let it grow! You look fantastic!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Scarves to wrap up one's hair! Lovely.
Thank you so much for the Times article this morning. I sincerely hope my mother reads it.

Watercolor said...

Such an inspirational post!! Thank you!! For a while I've wanted to make/paint silk evening wraps/scarves and this may be a way to start.

(Also loved your NYT articles. And at 42, I have long hair that my mom loves. :) Mostly I think because her mom *never* let her have long hair past about middle school because proper girls had "good" haircuts to show they had funds to do so. gag. I hate those short 40's women "mom" do's, lol. And love how the men stare when I let loose my long hair and shake it out. Sometimes I do it just to see the reaction. But I'm evil like that. haha)

Bianca @ Talking Writing said...

Those scarves are beautiful. It's always nice to local, smaller artists.

Jill said...

Hey, Dominique:
This morning, I ran into some friends I hadn't seen in a while, who looked at my longer-than-usual hair and said, "Hey, did you see the article in the Times about having long hair?" So, I went home to look it up, and--whoa, there! So I remembered that you'd asked me about me hair a few months ago, and naturally wondered if I'd inspired either the article or your 'do;)—well clearly I was at least the originator of augmenting knitted garments with parts of myself!
But I have to take issue with the “high maintenance” characterization: In fact, I let mine grow in anticipation of my mastectomy (don’t worry, it’s prophylactic--oh, yeah, all the fashionable 50-somethings are doing that, too)—knowing that I wouldn’t be able to shampoo or otherwise fuss with it much for a few months, I wanted to be sure a braid would stay intact for several days at a time. But that can be our secret, if you like.
Xxx,
J

Jill said...

ps MEG!!!
Wow, it's amazing how many people keep showing up in cyberspace! And during a month when I'm admittedly feeling a little old and used-up (or at least recycled?), it's nice to know somebody still remembers the girl I still am inside.
How and where the heck are you?
jwbernsataoldotcom

The Hausfrau said...

Gorgeous scarves! And I enjoyed your Pillowbook review...I've had this book for at least five years and keep meaning to read it. I'm going to go pull it off the shelf right now!

suzgalbraith said...

I just read your article about long hair on the New York Times website. I am 58 and can sit on my long grey hair.

My mother was forced to leave her hair uncut until she rebelled and bobbed it in college. Somehow this led her to identify long hair with parental control and short hair with freedom instead of concluding that controlling your child's hair is a bad idea. As a result I was forced to have a page boy until high school.

I have scrupulously avoided controlling my daughter's gorgeous wavy hair, which is sometimes long, occasionally cut short and donated to Locks of Love.

I have never commented on a blog before, and I don't know how to change the subject gracefully, but I would like to suggest that you write about my favorite vegetable, Romanesco. If you are unfamiliar with this visually dazzling relative of broccoli and cauliflower, it is easy to research online, harder to find it at your local farmer's market -- but well worth the effort. A whole, steamed Romanesco surrounded by little bowls of dip or marinade of makes a wonderful edible centerpiece.

Meg said...

ps Jill!
What a surprise! I'm at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Find me and send your email address.

Dominique said...

MEG and JILL! Not only do I remember you, Meg, but you were far and above the best math teacher I ever had, and that is saying a great deal for me as I had crippling math anxiety, though Jill of course did not. As I recall, you two were also way ahead of the rest of the school in digging into computer world! Imagine how far we have come...Jill, have emailed you and let me know if I have reached you. Meg, how wonderful to hear from you! d

Meg said...

Dominique and Jill - look who is ahead in the computer world now: You are the one with a blog! I just started to read Slow Love last night. How amazing to have found you two. I owe my son (19) for this delight. He sent me and my daughter (22)the link to the NYT article on long hair knowing that it was a hot button for us. Ha! Look me up at www.wcer.wisc.edu/people/staff.php?sid=859 I would love to chat via email. The rest of your public might not want to read our reminiscences.

Jill said...

(I don't care--I'm hijacking this thread.)
But you were the one who taught us where it all started! remember that slick DEC computer, about the size of a refrigerator, where we had to push all those orange levers down, representing 1's and 0's, spending all week to get it to multiply single digit numbers? Now, THAT was computing! This stuff is just typing, really.

Dominique said...

TEA BUTTERFLY thank you so very much, I mixed up letters there, I must have been typing too fast....d

Tokyo Jinja said...

I love these (and have long loved Judyth's NY apartment photos from the NYTs) and couldn't resist adding them to my post about vintage kimono and collecting!

http://tokyojinja.com/2010/10/26/the-magpie-gene-vintage-kimono-and-judyth-van-amringe/

And on another note, I too have long hair at 43. My father often inquires as to when I will finally cut it!

cherbydarl jimenez said...

I am a full time homemaker and a part time blogger. I really admire women above 50's like you who still wear long hair, has a productive life and still updated with technology..
I am actually planning to post links of blogs I love and yours will definitely be in my list! Any one else you can recommend who has a blog, women beyond 50s? I would love to be a follower.