Sunday, March 21, 2010

What the....

Yoshiko Wada is coming to Nelson later in the year to conduct a... "boro and stitch" workshop including dye resist techniques. Everybody told me it's a shibori workshop, but I'm not sure!. Somebody please tell me what "boro" means in the Western textile context? Because I'm not going to pay 400 bit ones for a workshop to create - what? - tattered fragments of textiles! No, way. I don't want to miss out on a great workshop opportunity, right here in Nelson, but so far I've only found terribly old Japanese cotton clothes turned into patchwork quilt on the Internet, and it's so not what I want to learn. Does anybody know about her "boro and stitch" workshops?

What is "boro" in this context??

A far more appetizing prospect is the India Flint workshop, which Jo Kinross tells me will happen, though the format is undecided. No worries, I'll take India anyway I can. Jo had some superb suggestions for me, though, which I'd like to share. In addition to fine merino cloth I was going to weave to dye in the workshop, Jo suggested knitting or crocheting something with yarns I would normally use in weaving, then dying the knit/crocheted piece, then unraveling and using the yarn as warp or weft. I also think I'll make some warp chains and dye them and use them to weave. Come to think of it, not all of these "prepared" bits need to be undyed merino, do they? I might even mix a bit of color, or even polyester, a little bit.


  1. It's sound like a 'tatter' to me. Well I only know a meaning in Japanese for this word 'Boro'. Not so good impression... I too interested in what it is and only guess is a patchwork used only with old piece of fabric (Nuno in Japanese and gain I just hard it has totality different meaning...).

    You are living in very interesting world, Meg.

  2. Not so good impression is exactly it! Mom asked me what they were, on the phone, too. Soon, she'll be able to Google, too.

  3. All I know is that Wada is a great shibori artist. I'm not familiar with boro.

  4. Darn, Connie, I was hoping you'd know!


  5. I have her book "Memory on Cloth, Shibori now" and boro isn't mentioned in the index. I'm booked and deposit paid to go to her workshop in Porirua Oct. 2 - 4 so will be interested to hear what this word means. Maybe its collaging different shibori techniques on one cloth!

  6. Dianne, the Porirua, or Paraparaumu? Anyhoo, THAT workshop is listed as a "shobori" workshop, which I would have been interested in... What you say makes sense, though. Hum... I wonder....

  7. Paraparaumu yes. I know its full with a waiting list. I know a friend has her first book so I'll contact Margaret later and see if boro is in that.

  8. Oh, thank you so much, Dianne. And no doubt you'll be blogging about your workshop experience, I hope, I hope!

  9. Sorry, unable to help with the meaning of "boro". Who is organising the Nelson workshop, maybe they can explain further.

  10. India Flint's last post mentions Boro and shows pictures

  11. Got the information from Deb who organized the workshop, written by Wada:

    3 Day workshop SLOW CLOTH
    “Boro Transformed: patching, piecing, stitching”

    Hands-on workshop for artists who are interested in Patchwork, Quilting, Embroidery, Collage and Painting.

    This workshop is inspired by a group of Japanese folk textile and clothing from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, such as padded sleeping mattresses and comforters, fisherman’s coats, lumberjack’s vests, and other everyday wear. These were dyed in indigo and extensively patched and darned as necessary, utilizing regional resources to the limit.

    In my forthcoming book, I am using the 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 surface in our social consciousness.

    Participants 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 (, and participants are also welcome to bring their own recycled, used, stained scraps or motheaten woollens to incorporate into their project.

    Hummm... sounds like "fiber art" to me, and I'm not dismissing it, but I don't know if I want to go, or if it's my kind of thing...

  12. Fair enough, we can get overloaded with information.


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