Risa (Tokyo)

Risa is in the 35-44 year old age group. She was born in Morioka city and grew up in Tokyo. She lives in Tokyo now. Although she never saw her mother in kimono in her childhood, she often listened to her stories about the beautiful and gorgeous kimono of geisha women who came to the authentic Japanese restaurant in Tohoku which was run by Risa’s mother’s great-grandmother. And Risa’s 7,5,3 kimono and her coming-of-age ceremony furisode were red, so that young Risa’s image of kimono was like a red colored gorgeous costume. She lived in New York for study and her work as a graphic designer for 8 years. After coming back to Japan in 2010, she lived in Ise area for half a year, for work. At Ise, she found Ise-katagami (stencil paper) and got to know the process of kimono making for the first time. She was surprised at the finely detailed beautifully cut works. Also she was moved at the durability because the stencil paper can still be used now, even if it was made 100 years ago. She was also shocked when she knew the paper stencils were seen as only the tool, so they were disposed of when their role was finished, even though they were so beautiful like art works. After she knew about Ise-katagami, she wanted to see dyers who use the stencil papers. She visited some dyers and got to know the dyers works. In 2011, Risa showed her own work to a traditional craftsman of stencil cutting. He suggested to Risa that she could be a designer for kimono and now she is working as a designer not only for kimono but also for other Japanese traditional items. Around that time, she took five lessons to learn to wear kimono by herself. But she could not have confidence to go out with her dressing skill. So she always asked a professional kimono dresser to dress her when she wore kimono out on formal occasions. As she attended a small kimono gathering every month, she got confidence with her kimono wearing little by little. Risa thinks internet kimono movies are very convenient. She can find her favorite kimono teacher at her place anytime, and she can ask questions anytime and can find the answers on internet. Now she wears kimono two or three times a month and every time she attends gatherings both for business and pleasure. For business, she wants people to know that she is a designer for Japanese traditional items, and for pleasure she wants to connect with people who have an interest in Japanese traditional items. The kimono which is behind her was made by three new young women artisans: designer (Risa), a stencil cutter and a dyer; they made it as a new challenge.

Risa owns 22 kimono. Over the half of them are casual kimono like komon, tsumugi and cotton etc. Almost 70% of her collection came from her family members or acquaintances. Three kimono are her husband’s kimono.

里紗さん 35-44歳の年齢のグループ、盛岡で生まれ東京で育ち、現在も東京にお住まいです。子供の頃にお母さまが着物を着ているのを見た記憶はないのですが、お母さまのひいお祖母様が東北で料亭を営んでいたため、多くの芸者さんが華やかな衣装で出入りしていた話を小さい頃から聞かされていました。里紗さんの七五三の着物や成人式の振袖が赤い色だったことから、若い頃の里紗さんには、着物は日常的なものではなく、華やかで赤い、衣装のような豪華なイメージがありました。

勉強とグラフィックデザイナーとしての仕事のため8年間ニューヨークで暮らしたのち、帰国してすぐの2010年に仕事で伊勢に半年間住む機会がありました。そのとき、伊勢型紙に出会うとともに初めて着物を作る工程を知りました。伊勢型紙の彫りの精巧さ、細かさだけでなく、100年前に作られた型紙がまだ使えるという耐久性に感動するとともに、型紙自体がこんなにも美しいにも関わらず、これが鑑賞のための作品ではなく、着物を染めるためのただの道具であり消耗品であるため、役目が終われば捨てられてしまうことに衝撃を受けました。型紙を作っている人を知ってからは、今度はそれを使って着物を染めている人に会いたいと、工房を調べ職人さんに会いに行き、着物を染める職人さんの仕事を知りました。

2011年、伝統工芸士でもある型彫師の職人さんに里紗さん自身が彫った型紙を見せに行ったところ、図案師になることを勧められました。それから後は着物だけでなく幅広い方面での図案師の仕事をしながら今に至ります。

その頃着物の着方を習うため5回のレッスンに通いましたが、なかなか自信がもてず、フォーマルの場へ着物で出席するときはプロの方に着せてもらっていました。その後着物愛好家のグループの会合に毎月着物で出席し、アドバイスをもらいながら自信をつけ、着物で出かける回数を増やしました。

インターネットの動画にも助けられました。家にいながらお気に入りの先生を見つけられ、分からないことがあればいつでも教えてくれ、こんなに便利な物はないと思います。

現在は月に2-3回、公私ともに集まりのあるときは着物を着ていくことで、デザイナーとして仕事の幅をひろげたり、和に興味のある人同士をつなげたりしています。

里紗さんの後ろにある着物は、3人の同世代の新人女性職人(図案師である里紗さんと型彫師と染め師)が力と技を合わせ、新しい試みとして作った着物です。この活動は今後も続けていくつもりです。

お手持ちの着物は22枚。半分以上が小紋、紬や木綿などのカジュアル着物です。ご家族や知人から譲られた着物が全体の約7割。ご主人の男性着物も3枚あります。

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