Inspiration : Japanese Boro

Lately I've been trying to dig up any info I can on Japanese boro. I first heard of Boro via The Silly Boodilly (thank you, Victoria!). Lately, she's been creating lots of boro-inspired quilts too.

Haba Boro, Sri Threads.
It has become a serious influence in my Foreclosure series as you can see by looking at the example below. There's my wool scrim! I actually found this image after I started my first quilt in the series.

Haba Kaya, Sri Threads.
Haba Kaya detail, Sri Threads.
Lately, I'm imagining little mini wall hangings that I can do concurrently since these quilts are taking forever to make! As I delve deeper into the story behind the foreclosures, I'm learning the many ways these homes have been lost: lost jobs, predatory lending, shady lending practices, etc. Oftentimes, homes are bought over and over again by banks, each time reappraising and over-inflating the value of the home.There are so many layers to the process and I want to find a way to show this in a larger scale so I can delve into more detail. Boro would be the perfect way to do this.

Boro, Sri Threads.
Boro, Sri Threads.
Boro, Sri Threads.
I love the blues, the patchwork and the history that surrounds these pieces. The good news is there are lots, lots more of this amazing eye candy at Sri Threads, a Brooklyn textile gallery that specializes in Japanese folk textiles (talk about a niche!) with a frequently updated blog that is definitely worth perusing. And a lot of these are for sale, some of them actually affordable. And here is one of their recent discoveries, boro sakabukuro or sake straining bags.

Stunning, no? They are so inspiring to me. I have so many new ideas just looking at these. Be sure to check out Sri Threads gallery and blogI just read they are updating their online store January 12th. I'm hoping the sake straining bags will be up and I can afford just one!


Kitty Kilian said...

Hi K- please explain to us what Boro really is.. it looks like a lot of patching up? And yes the idea of doing mini-quilts on the side would be great, that way we'd be able to may be afford one too! I wonder what you will be doing with all the great name-giving oppurtunities! And I wonder if you will be inviting people who have lost their homes to the opening of the show this quilt is going to be in!

Jim Austin said...

You can find an explanation here about Japanese boro textiles on my site at:

Victoria said...

Sri Threads, (oh, what a resource for inspiration and education!) was where I first learned, and fell in love, with boro, too. It's also where I first saw the sake straining bags, and just like you, these hit home with me as well. I've had images of them pinned to my inspiration board for the last year, and have played around a bit with trying to make something similar... but I haven't gotten it right yet. (sigh)
Looking forward to seeing where it takes you! (Also, thank you once again for the shout out.) :)

And, I'm very much intrigued by your connecting the Foreclosure series with the boro... brilliant concept.
(Just read in the paper yesterday about a man that had a home worth $250,000. He fell on hard times due to health, and despite acting in good faith and going through all the proper channels to try and stay afloat with his mortgage, the bank foreclosed on him. Now they are putting his once home on the market for a mere $80,000, and he is not allowed to even make a first bid. That's sinful.)

kathrynclark said...

Thanks for providing the info, Jim. You have some lovely textiles on your site as well.

Victoria, there is so much not being done about the foreclosures. We're bailing out the wrong people, the ones who got us into this mess. There's some nasty dealings going on that isn't made clear to the public. Hopefully, this work will point out some of this.

Sophie Truong said...

I'm also a fan of Sri! I actually went to visit a couple of years ago and got two beautiful panels there... gorgeous! It's been my inspiration to start collecting boros which in turn have inspired my teabag panels.. Try to visit it in Brooklyn if you can, Stephen is great and the pieces he carries are amazing!!!

jill said...

My friend pointed me in the direction of your blog and Im so glad she did its great and inspirational and your boro has just given me an idea with some past work I have in my attic, thankyou

Rachel Biel said...

Sri is also a member of TAFA (www.tafalist.com) and his blog is fantastic! Super knowledgeable and a wonderful human being!

Lari Washburn said...

Gorgeous stuff! I just looked at Sophie's book on Boros and it inspired a drawing I will put up on my blog soon. I never saw the brown ones!

Anonymous said...

Katheryn, I'm so glad you commented on my blog so I could find your! I love the boro work and the foreclosure series! They are both beautiful and a profoundly interesting commentary on our current economic situation. Since you mentioned a book I will do so in return, you probably know of the Nuno series but one of them specifically is titled Boro Boro. If you haven't checked it out, you will want to. I also found a website just today that you might find interesting: http://www.japanlivingarts.com/
Great to "meet"!


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