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A Boro Futon Cover and the Versatility of Zokin

Written on February 1, 2010

Pictured hanging on the wall in the photo below  is a wonderful and large boro futon cover; on the floor is an arrangement of zokin or  sashiko stitched dust cloths made from recycled cottons which are laid out to make a kind of rug.
ZokinFloor
Because zokin are usually made from several layers of cloth, and because they are usually heavily stitched, they are durable—and they beg to be revitalized and put to use in another incarnation.   When I came across these photos, above and below, I remembered a large bed cover I hand stitched entirely from old zokin.

ZokinFloora
And here is that very bed cover, shown below.

When I first started Sri about ten years ago, I began by hand making home accessories from antique cloth: everything was hand stitched.  I soon realized, though, that I was more interested in the actual cloth than in making things from it, so I phased my business from being an artisan workshop into being a proper gallery of antique textiles.  I’m much happier now that I’ve made this transition.

ZokinFloorb
Still, this bed cover remains one of the favorite things I made: a wonderful client bought it and is living with it, which is great to know.  It’s incredibly durable, and I am sure it keeps my client very warm up there in New England.

ZokinFloorc

ZokinFloord
Of course this bed cover was made during the days when zokin were more available than they are now so I had many to choose from to stitch this piece.  As you can imagine, textiles of beauty and age are harder and harder to come by as the time goes on.

ZokinFloore

ZokinFloorf

ZokinFloorg

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7 Comments

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  1. Comment by Paula:

    outstanding piecework! the subtle progression of color and pattern and the center-right area of light are amazing ~~ you could have had (another) great career as a textile artist. but everyone who comes (virtually) to Sri is glad you chose this path. ^^ thanks for sharing these photos.

    February 1, 2010 @ 12:48 am

  2. Comment by Heather:

    What a gorgeous piece you made! I like to work with old Japanese cloth too but prefer not to copy an authentic style as it wouldn’t be, er, authentic! I love how you captured the spirit but added your own aesthetic to this quilt.

    Thanks for the site by the way, I have been lurking for a long time.

    February 1, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  3. Comment by eliza:

    so beautiful!

    February 1, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  4. Comment by dee:

    unbelievably gorgeous.

    February 9, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  5. Comment by Charlotte Teek:

    Deeply inspired by the aesthetic and the philosophy and find that my path has travelled to some very interesting places since chancing across your site. Thankyou.
    Charlotte

    July 20, 2010 @ 3:46 am

  6. Comment by Richard:

    so awesome – thanks for these!

    September 28, 2010 @ 3:05 am

  7. Pingback from Link time! | Blog Anoushka Matus:

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    January 17, 2014 @ 2:50 am