Vancouver Island artisan Josée Day recreates the traditional kimono in miniature form with her line of Maiko Asia silk pillows

Salvaging silk kimonos and transforming them into decorative pillows just seemed natural to Josée Day, who has always been fascinated with Japanese culture and history, especially with the maiko, an apprentice geisha.

“They were one of the first independent businesswomen,” says the Vancouver Island-based artisan. “The true geisha, skilled in all the arts, are very much respected and admired by their society.” And like those entrepreneurial artisans, Day has blended her skills to create her own venture: Maiko Asia.

Maiko Asia

As eastern culture has fused with western ways, the tradition of wearing kimonos has begun to die. Day’s friend in Japan has helped her salvage vintage kimonos that have been discarded in favour of more modern clothing. She now imports these once-treasured symbols of celebration, culture and life, carefully takes them apart, and gives them a new life as decorative pillows. From the precisely positioned obi belt to the lining at the neck, she has recreated the traditional garment in miniature form.

“Through the art of dedicated reclamation, we are honouring their origin and allowing them to become, once again, someone’s treasure,” she says.