Boro Transformed: Patched, Pierced, Stitched, and Dyed in Greenest Indigo
Japanese folk textiles from nineteenth/twentieth centuries, such as comforters, fisherman’s coats, lumberjack’s vests, and other everyday wears, were made of plant fiber mixed with used cotton rags and dyed in indigo, and extensively patched and darned to utilize limited available resources of the regions. The term "boro," meaning castaway rag, may define a new aesthetic and meaning to an alternative creative process, e.g. darning = healing, meditative action = marking time, reuse/repair = recording history. Boro’s imperfect beauty possesses a power that resonates with people and points to an alternative value of "beauty" slowly coming to surface in our social consciousness.
Participants in this class will learn about traditional Japanese common textiles made with boro (rags and fabric scraps) and will reinterpret this folk tradition by creating a fabric collage using layering, piecing, sewing, and darning. Participants will also explore the use of water soluble sheets to create open, lace-like structures in collage. Scrap fabrics will be provided by dosa inc. of Los Angeles (www.dosainc.com) and participants are also welcome to bring their own recycled, used, stained scraps or moth eaten woolens to incorporate into their project.
[Having one’s own sewing machine will be beneficial.]
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, artist, author, curator, textile researcher, and film producer has long been a proponent of traditional and sustainable practices in fashion and textile production. She travels throughout the world giving lectures and workshops. Wada is the President of the World Shibori Network and founder of the Slow Fiber Studio in California. Awards include: Japan Foundation Fellowship; Renwick Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution; Matsushita International Foundation, which resulted in the definitive publication, Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing (14th printing); Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now (5th printing); and Producer and Narrator in the films, “Natural Dye Workshop with Michel Garcia: Colors of Provence Using Sustainable Methods” and sequel, "Colors of the Americas". For more information, consult her website: www.yoshikowada.com
In my forthcoming book, I am using a Japanese term "boro" to define a new aesthetic and to bring new meaning to an alternative creative process, e.g. darning = healing, meditative action = marking time, reuse/repair = recording history. "Boro" represents the transformation of inconsequential material to something precious and valuable. Ordinarily, these tattered, castaway rags and the articles pieced together from them would be considered of little to no value. Boro, on the other hand, are viewed as beautiful in a way that defies convention. This type of imperfect beauty possesses a power that resonates with people almost like an emotional barometer. It points to an alternative value of "beauty" slowly coming to the surface in our social consciousness.