I love you.
March 27 is my mom’s birthday. She’s 78 years young and going as strong as ever. For those that know her, you’re aware of her talents and the amazing work she does. She oozes creativity and adds her genius to everything she touches. For those that don’t know her, let me introduce you to a remarkable woman, Akiko Ann Champagne.
In the midst of World War II, my mother was born an only child in Atami, Japan, which is about an hour from Tokyo by way of the bullet train. Raised primarily by her mother in this popular seaside town, she learned the traditions and expectations of the culture there just as all Japanese children do. When she was a teenager, her beauty and shapely figure caught the attention of many, which allowed her to land a few small roles in movie films. That was the start of a lengthy list of talents that my mother has compiled over the years. If you walk through my house, you’ll see some of her many other talents firsthand.
She paints. I’ve adorned several walls in my house with canvas paintings she did as a young woman. They’re beautifully done, mostly of scenes from her hometown of Atami. She’s never said anything about why she chose these scenes, though there’s a part of me that believes she did them to fill an enormous void when she was homesick as a young adult. She left Japan at the age of 18 after marrying my father, immediately moved to the states and became a US citizen, and has only been back to her homeland a handful of times since. Every time I see her paintings, I’m reminded of this and my heritage, as well as of the magnificence of the country.
She sews. As a wedding gift, she made me a lovely peignoir (wedding night negligee). It’s a keepsake I’ll cherish forever, though there’s no way I could squeeze into it now. There are many other things she’s sewn over the years, such as handmade Christmas ornaments, drapes, clothing, and more. One of the favorites is the elaborately made Geisha doll I have in my house. She made every piece of the doll from scratch, including the kimono, the makeup, the hair — everything. Amazing talent, mom.
Of all her talents, though, her passion is flowers. Everywhere in my house, you’ll find flower arrangements she’s created for me. Each unique. Each more beautiful than the next. One of the most recent creations she made for me is a stunning, wall arrangement. I stare at it all the time, mesmerized by its elegance and striking beauty. Made from silk flowers and textures, this arrangement gets oos and aahs from everyone that visits.
To my mom, there are no words to describe the admiration I have for you and your many talents. Thank you for all that you do for me and for all the loving designs you’ve added in my home. I hope you have the wonderful, relaxing birthday you deserve.
And while I don’t have an iota of the talent that my mom has, I am fortunate enough to be a part of her life and share in the things she creates. And I’m excited to be able to make some of her designs available to others. You can find a selection of her arrangements on my retail store and even order your own custom designed wall arrangement. If you’re local, drop me a note and I’d be happy to help you to create a unique design that fits your home décor.
Until my next post, enjoy.