*This is a translation article from Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya about Sashiko and Boro.
Boro and Sashiko in English
We learned that the word of “Boro” and “Sashiko” are getting popular and popular in English.
For us, who spent most of our life in Sashiko stitching, it is an honorable thing that people oversea found Sashiko interesting. We are happy to learn that Sashiko is inspiring some of the respected cultures like quilting and patchworking. For Boro, we respect each interpretation and transition to each fabric culture. Through various of interpretation, we sincerely hope the culture of “appreciating the fabric” and “Mottainai (too good to waste)” may remain in the future.
The Value of Boro We Define
When we look at a piece of Boro, there is a standard to measure its value: How many layers does the mending part have.
Boro is a result of repeating Sashiko with patching the fabric to the hole (and torn) that the ordinary people experienced in their ordinary life. There is a reason for the damage and holes as the result of friction. The damaged part of the fabric was heavily used in ordinary days. In current society, the knee part of jeans can be one example for that.
Since the part is heavily used, one mending is not the end of the whold process. Boro was(is) always an ongoing project. We believe it was ordinal thing to have the hole after patching the hole. The Japanese kept stitching the damaged part for functional reasons (and with decoration reasons when there is room for it.)
Therefore, the beautiful Boro has several layers, sometime even 4 fabrics of layers, to patch the part.
The fabric became thinner by friction, the faded color, the layers of the fabrics with one-of-a-kind color (which only time can create). The contrast of these precious color make Boro the Art, as the art curator introduce the Boro pieces to the world.
People tried their best to fashion themselves, in the absolute poverty, by collecting the thin fabrics with limited resources. They patched these to brighten their lives, even a bit, with Sashiko.
Boro was born in such a culture. We believe that Boro is a heritage of Sashiko (stitching) in Japanese Ordinary Days
Reviving the Boro over 100 of years.
We try our best to “revive” the Boros.
Old Boros we can find in the antique market & museum is the heritages from the people’s achievement in centuries ago. At the same time, many damaged vintage fabric, let’s call “to be Boro fabric” exist in the market and the ordinary people’s house.
We wash these “To be Boro fabric” then, we follow the original concept of Boro: to use the fabric, therefore we repair it.
Boro is very fragile. It gets easily damaged by friction.
Therefore, the people in 2018 may not use the Boro fabric in actual life. However, by us supposing the purpose of Boro, we believe we can sincerely understand how the people repaired, mend, patched, and did Sashiko on the Boros. It makes our Boros, to authentic traditional Boros.
Even more, simply speaking, the Sashiko with intending to be used in the society, is what we enjoy in Sashiko.
The “finished Boro” from the antique market amuse people. They are stunning beautiful and I understand art-curators call them the art. The Japanese in past made these stunning art in the ordinary life.
Over 100s of years, when we can share the feeling of appreciation of fabric and sort of the idea of “Wabi Sabi” in its beauty, the Sashiko and Boro will be more “usual” in our ordinary life in 2018.
*We wear our Sashiko and Boro Jacket in daily life to create more torn & fade colors so we can do more Sashiko on it. It is a never-ending journey.
References on Sashiko & Boro :
Original Article in Japanese is below:
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