It’s been ten years since Momo Nagano shuffled off her mortal coil. And yes, I know this blog is for promoting products, but with Mother’s Day coming up, I started thinking about my mom, who happens to be Momo Nagano, who is also one of the subjects on the DVD Words, Weavings, and Songs, produced by our very own Watase Media Arts Center at JANM.
In many ways my mother predicted my job here at the JANM store, decades before the museum was conceived. When I was a teenager (and one of very little ambition) my mother once told me, “You know you love shopping so much, maybe you should get a job doing that!” I think she was being sarcastic, but I asked her if that was really a job and she described how merchandise was chosen for department store—someone had to buy it so we could buy it. It didn’t make much of an impression on me at the time. But like most unskilled teenagers, my first paying job was as a sales clerk. Fortunately it was for a weaving store and not a hamburger stand. We sold yarns made from everything from alpaca to human hair as well as handmade clothing and crafts from Mexico, Peru, India, and Morocco. I didn’t get to do the buying, but I saw first-hand how interesting curating a shop could be—travel to exotic places or even just to trade shows in New York. It never was a real goal or dream of mine, but after years of having a hand in all the facets of retail—wholesale, product design, product photography, and marketing—I finally found myself in the position of being a museum store buyer!
When I looked for products to sell in the museum store, I always thought of who would be buying for whom. I thought of what kinds of gifts I would buy for my mom on Mother’s Day. And this year I think it would be another Watase MAC production, Masters of Modern Design, because it features two other Nisei women artists, Kay Sekimachi and Ruth Asawa. I think my mom would really have enjoyed seeing their stories. Either that or some crazy sushi cat socks. Because that’s the kind of mom she was.
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