May 2018 – an exhibition of one-of-a-kind handmade clothing and stories inspired by the Japanese concept of mottenai. Greenbrier County Visitors Center in May. Meet the artist, Tenley Shewmake, on First Friday 5-7pm May 4.
A one of a kind treasure! Here was an admirable coat, in for repair. Unexpected. He caressed the silky pleats and studied the plums, golds and rich browns. Saw the small stain inside the hem. His first coat, sewn under the spell of master tailor Miranda. A magnificent beauty, too mature for a student hardly needing to shave, she once caught his admiring gaze and withered him with a glance. Red faced he dropped his eyes and saw he’d stuck himself. He smiled at the memory. “Ian!” he called to his young apprentice. “Bring me colors of late Summer flowers, and a bit of the thunder in a stormy sky!”
I am inspired by Japanese Boro, the clothing and fabric used by peasants, merchants and artisans in Japan from 17th – 19th c. Boro exemplifies the value of ‘mottainai’ or ‘too good to waste’. Once an item was made, it would be maintained throughout the owner’s lifetime, and longer. Sewn together and patched over generations, family history was woven into the threads. I use gifted, remnant and recycled fabric along with new to create garments that tell a story. May you wear them in good health.