Ashton Hayes & Tarvin Flower Club July Meeting Report

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On entering the Edna Rose room at the Community Centre on Wednesday evening we could see the effort that had been made to display the examples of Japanese clothing and accessories. All were clearly labelled with their correct name. Before we could find out more though we had our A.G.M. This was dealt with quite swiftly with short reports and the accounts being presented. It was pleasing to know that thanks to the Skycycle collection and a grant from the Parish Council we have money remaining at the end of our financial year. Thanks were given to all the committee and especially to Merryn our Chairman who puts so much time and effort into the club.

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Keiko Gordan was then introduced. She is Japanese but has lived in Chester for 20 years. She explained that the kimono is mainly worn these days for special occasions and by some older ladies as their daily dress. The kimonos tend to be handed down the generations as they are beautifully made and fully lined, all in silk fabric The colours of the special ones were quite stunning. In fact she had one with her that had belonged to her mother.

In the past girls learned through practice but now because of less use they have to be taught how to dress in a kimono. There are 3 layers and the very heavy sash which is about 5 yards long. One of our group volunteered to be dressed. The bottom layer is white, layer two can be coloured but has a white edge to show at the neck and then the final ornate kimono itself. Each layer is carefully smoothed into place with a belt to hold each. It is always fastened left over right. The sash goes twice around the waist with some spare kept for the intricate bow at the back. A stiffened piece is slotted into the front and the bow holds a small padded cushion with coloured fabric covering it.

Kimonos are made to a standard pattern but in different sizes. She showed us one for a baby boy (in black with cream pattern) which was for a ceremony similar to our Christening where happiness is wished upon the child. There was one for a young girl in bright pink with matching bag and shoes.

Another of our group wore an everyday design with only one layer of lighter weight fabric (not silk) and her bow at the back was a clip on one.

The evening was fascinating and really enjoyed by us all.