January 08, 2024 at 04:46PM

I often receive a question on “What is a good fabric for Boro?”. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to satisfy what they are asking as our understanding of “Boro” is most likely different. However, I do have some recommendations that “can result in” Boro – which we call “Kofu (古布)” – in Japanese, simply “Old-Fabric”.

Some dealers (including myself) occasionally sell items saying “It is Boro”. The difference between “Kofu” & “Boro” is vague. I would say that Boro is one category of “Kofu”. The Kofu are often a good choice for Boro-to-be projects because the fabric is well used & survived for a long time already. It is so ironic, yet the fabric 100 years ago can have much better quality than the mass-produced fabric today. In order to make a “Boro-to-be (looks like Boro)” piece, the fabric needs to be somewhat “strong” enough to go through wear & tear. So, Kofu is our recommendation & preference.

However, not all “Kofu” are good for the purpose. If the “purpose” is just to exhibit behind the glass, I guess any Kofu would be fine. However, as a stitcher, there are certain strict criterias that need to go through. Well, “What is Good Kofu for Boro-To-Be” is one lecture/workshop topic, so I do not simplify it here… but the first question you may ask is “Is that Kofu washable (repeatedly)?” Sashiko with Kofu is not the end as “Art” – it is actually the beginning of its new life as fabric for us. Therefore, if the fabric is too damaged, dirty, or fragile for regular usage, it is quite useless. How do we find out? We simply wash it. Sometimes it ends up with losing “fabric” to drain… but it needs to be washed. I often do this over the cold winter: wash repeatedly. There are stories from Sashiko Artisans for “old fabric” too.





「BORO」という言葉の一人歩きは凄まじく、一般の日本人が思い描く「ぼろ」と、日本を飛び出した「BORO」が描く世界は、全く違うものになりました。この変化はある意味では自然で、「良いか悪いか」は感情的なものだと思うのです。ただ、こういう変化の中で必ず留意すべき点があります。それは「元の場所にいた物語を置いてけぼりにしていないか」です。もっと悪意がある場合は、都合が悪いからと意図的に本来の姿を無視する場合すらあります。だからこそ、刺し子を実際にする一人として声を上げて行かなければと思うのです。

良い襤褸?それはアートとして?良い古布?そんなん「使える古布」が良い古布に決まっているでしょうよ。洗って刺し子して使って洗ってを繰り返しても大丈夫な古布。見た目”だけ”で価値を決めるのは、実際に刺し子をする観点から見ると、浅い話だなぁと思ってしまいます。

#Sashiko #刺し子 #ぼろ #Boro


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