– Ever dream of uncovering a valuable treasure in a garage sale or thrift store? Melbourne’s Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Thrift Shop manager, Martha
Baird, realized that fantasy, recently. While sorting a jumble of clothing donations, she discovered a unique formal Japanese wedding kimono.
Florida Tech was the fortunate recipient. The shop donated the ivory-colored silk kimono, called an “uchikake” to display in the university’s textiles
collection. Dating from the 1960s, the elaborate, embroidered kimono is a design from Japan’s Edo period (1600-1868).
“This kimono represents the traditional Japanese bridal costume,” said Carla Funk, special projects assistant to Florida Tech’s Senior Vice President of
Advancement Thomas Fox. “It has long, flowing sleeves, an extended train with a padded hemline and is elaborately decorated with metallic gold embroidered
images of foliage and male and female cranes. These are symbolic of a wish for a long and prosperous life for the couple.”
Jody Carter, owner of Art Expressions in Downtown Eau Gallie, in Melbourne, has offered to fabricate a Plexiglas display case for just the cost of
materials, said Funk. “The kimono will make a dramatic display and is a wonderful addition to our textile collection, which contains many Asian objects. We
are very grateful for this beautiful item,” she added.
In 2005, Florida Tech hosted its first campus exhibit of the Ruth Funk collection, a showcase of jewelry, wearable art, art books, textiles and cultural
artifacts. Ruth Funk (no relation to Carla) donated to the university thousands of items, primarily textiles, she collected from around the world. Her
donation formed the basis for a Textile Arts program at the university.
The first course in the program, “History of World Textiles,” will be offered in fall 2006 and is open to the community. For more information, call (321)