If Wishes Were Plane Tickets
Oh mighty Textile Ranger! When you picked up and polished the magic thimble, we, the members of International Textile Fairies, Pixies, and Genies Local 42, became your loyal servants. We hereby grant you your wish for an extended, behind-the-scenes tour of the Kyoto Costume Institute!
An Official Flying Carpet will transport you straight into the Kyoto Costume Institute gallery, to see an exhibit, “Fashions of the 1830s”, created just for you. With magical instruments – a pair of white gloves and a magnifying glass – you will have powers beyond those of ordinary mortals. You will be allowed to touch these fragile garments and examine their details – the hand-sewn seams with their tiny stitches, the beaded reticules, the embroidered stockings.
When you are ready to leave the exhibit, we will lead you underground, to a treasury that will make Aladdin’s cave pale by comparison – the climate-controlled permanent collections area. There you will find room after room full of acid-free boxes. Others might be bored by these uniform gray stacks but we know you can imagine the wealth of colorful brocades, cut velvets, or delicate laces within. Four tireless assistants will be at your disposal to properly unpack any item that you wish to see, lay it out for your perusal, and repack it properly when you are ready. You have only to study the treasures and reap inspiration from their variety.
Since there are 12,000 items in the collection, we expect you may want to stay for weeks. In the evenings, experts in textile design and preservation will come to pay their respects and share their knowledge. You won’t even have to leave the Costume Institute to go to a hotel – you will be allowed to sleep in the institute’s library, surrounded by 16,000 documents that you can pick up for evening or middle-of-the-night reading sessions. What will you choose? 1890s design sketches by Worth? 1840s cotton dress print samples? Madame Monet’s laundry list?
We know that you won’t really care what you eat or even if you eat during this visit, but food will be brought in for you at regular intervals. It will be delicious.
Since your stay will be for as long as you like, you might even take a few days off from surveying these treasures to fly off on side trips, to gardens, temples, museums, and studios of Living National Treasures.
And when you are finally ready to start back home, your flying carpet will take you to the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris, for a perfect finishing touch to your trip!
Today’s Writing 101 prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?
There are dozens of wilderness areas, textile museums, and art retreat centers I would love to visit, but most of them are places I feel competent enough to travel to on my own. I think I would have a hard time negotiating Kyoto, though, and even if I could get in to the Kyoto Costume Institute’s collection, I know the visit would not be long enough to suit me. So if any magical Textile Genies could grant me a travel wish, this would be it!