Written on August 13, 2009
In rural Japan, farmers were self-sufficient and relied on their own skills of invention and frugality to sustain the lives of their families. Certainly nothing was wasted and material of all sorts was re-used and re-purposed until its usefulness was exhausted. These balls of rope which are made from old cotton illustrate this point.
They’re braided from cotton scraps and the result is not only useful—this rope still seems very able to do hard work—but also very beautiful, in a self-effacing way. I am sure that whoever made these balls of rope, for whatever purpose, would be dumbfounded to think that we are now admiring his or her handiwork.
Most likely this rope was made in northern Japan; those of you who own the book “Boro: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan” will see similar examples to these at the end of the book.