“The Meaning of Heart”
The theme for our first exhibit we put on was “The Meaning of Heart.” And for the first blog post I wanted to write something with this theme in mind. I came across a story posted on facebook about a woman who made a kimono that combined both her Japanese and Scottish ancestry (you can read that story here http://mymodernmet.com/handmade-kimono-maya-caulfield/) and I knew I had to interview her about it! I contacted Maya,who made the kimono and she was more than happy to answer some questions over email!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am an 18 year-old artist from Denver, Colorado. I'm currently traveling around the country (today is my last day in Washington state), but before that, I studied Production Design at the Colorado Film School.
What inspired you to make this kimono?
I was inspired to make a piece that integrated my mixed cultural ancestry, and decided to make a kimono after getting into the Japanese streetwear community. The fusion of cultures, as well as the fusion of things old and new, always produce something really unique and I wanted to try my hand at it. I chose shirts that had a plaid/tartan pattern and then started to make the kimono by hand, which took some guessing, but in the end it wasn't too difficult.
What traditions (both Scottish and Japanese) did you grow up with?
I was definitely influenced more by Japanese side of the family growing up, most of my relatives are first generation immigrants and they take care to preserve their culture. My cousins and I would make heaps of Japanese food for all the big holidays, and when I was younger I did Kendo, a form of Japanese martial arts.
Have you been able to visit either country? What did you love about each of them?
I've never been to Japan but I would like to visit someday and see my family there. I have been to Scotland- it's absolutely beautiful. I love how green and lush the countryside is there, it's idyllic. I am more connected to my culture now than ever- growing up I felt like being mixed race disassociated me from both sides.
For self-portraits, what was your thought process behind them and why did you choose the location/lighting/style you did?
I don't usually do self-portraits, but I've been living in complete isolation for the past two months, so I'm my only model. The pacific northwest is so gorgeous, I just get in my car at sunrise or sunset and drive around until I see a good spot and then I get out and put my self-timer on the camera and snap away. I'm sure I look totally ridiculous running back and forth to my camera in a plaid kimono or ball gown in the middle of a field.
I’m an American married to a Japanese and with my kids who are half Maya’s kimono really resonated with me. If you study Japanese history and culture you’ll see that Japan often takes parts of other cultures and integrates those parts into their own. The way Maya melded her two cultures together in the kimono she made is absolutely beautiful. You can check out the kimono self portraits and more of Maya’s work here https://www.instagram.com/p/BaRn5AYnz2c/?taken-by=honey.lemonade .