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Archives for June, 2013

An Ethereal Swath of Pale Blue Cloth: Hemp and Cotton Kaya

June 29, 2013

HempCottonKaya1This is really beautiful.  This delicate, translucent swath of cloth is a section of kaya, or mosquito netting, which is woven using a pale blue cotton warp and a hemp weft.

HempCottonKaya1aThe result of weaving with a cotton warp and a hemp weft, in this case, is a beautiful, uneven quality to the warp yarns which give a watery, undulating appearance to the cloth.

HempCottonKaya1bAnd the cloth is also beautifully sheer, as you can see in these photos here.  The cloth is almost intangible, like mist.

HempCottonKaya1cIn Japan, this pale indigo color has a name.  It is known as asagi, and it is one of my favorite tones of indigo.

HempCottonKaya1dThe wiggly, undulating effect of the warp yarns is very evident in these photos, above and below.

HempCottonKaya1eThe piece measures 59″ x 64″ or 150 cm x 162.5 cm and dates to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  It is hand stitched from six separate panels.

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Boro–The Fabric of Life at Domaine de Boisbuchet, Lessac, France

June 14, 2013


Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-01I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to show my collection of selected boro pieces at Domaine de Boisbuchet in Lessac (Charente), France.  The show opened 8 June and it will run all summer, until 15 September.

Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-02The show occupies five galleries that comprise the first floor, or belle etage, of the domaine’s chateau.  Each gallery represents a theme that describes the overall concept of boro.  The first room, a circular one, above,  introduces the visitor to an understanding of what boro is, and when it was made.   In this gallery only one piece is shown, a magnificent yogi from the late nineteenth century.
Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-03The second gallery, above and below, attempts to give an understanding of the historical context that produced boro garments and textiles.   The furoshiki in the upper left hand corner of the photo, below, was lent by Naohito Shikama and the child’s kimono, below, was lent by Amy Katoh.




Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-06The third gallery, above and below, focuses on the nature of Japanese aesthetics.  Even though boro garments were not created to fulfill the requirements of such esoteric philosophies as wabi sabi or shibui, we can now view these works through the lens of these essentially Japanese points of view.  Mottainai, the Japanese principle which cautions not to waste, is very much a part of the making of boro.  Gallery Kei lent the rare, 19th century silk and cotton sakiori shikimono seen on the large, white base, below.





Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-12The fourth gallery, above and below, illustrates technique: works that are exemplary of  sashiko, sakiori and zanshi ori techniques are exhibited in this gallery.

Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-13A marvelous, 19th century boro noragi or work coat is shown above.

Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-14Above is a heavily sashiko stitched work coat said to be from Shiga Prefecture.  Below is an excellent sakiori hanten with sashiko stitched sleeves.  This sakiori was woven with a bast warp.

Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-15Below is a pair of indigo dyed cotton work leggings or momohiki, layers thick, and completely covered in sashiko stitching.


Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-17Above and below are images of the fifth and final gallery, which we installed to give a sense of “population,”  which also afforded us the possibility to show many garments in one, compressed area.

The red and yellow sakiori hantens are lent by Amy Katoh.

To add a contemporary link to the concept of boro, in this same gallery we are showing five textile works by Bangladeshi women which were lent by architect Anna Heringer.  Anna has encouraged a group of Bangladeshi ladies to take their traditional, recycled cotton fabrics and revive them by turning them into wearable garments to sell for profit.  In this way, Heringer is hoping to establish a way out from the dangerous working conditions for Bangladeshis which have been so much in the news, while, at the same time, granting them their own identity and earning power.

Boro-The-Fabric-of-Life-18I owe this exhibition to the vision of the founder of Domaine de Boisbuchet, Alexander von Vegesack, whose commitment to the concept of boro has been the engine which powered this exhibition forward.

Equally, Mathias Schwartz-Clauss, Boisbuchet’s artistic director and my co-curator on this exhibition, was the force who breathed life into this project, and without whom, we would not be looking at these ingeniously conceived and installed  galleries.

We were very fortunate to have worked with four fellowship recipients from Parsons The New School for Design:  Christopher Koelsch, Alana Jiwa, Kamala Murali and Andres Gonzalez-Bode.

And here is the entire team which created this exhibition:

Mathias Schwartz-Clauss and Stephen Szczepanek

Assistant curator:
Christian Altherr

Initial idea:
Ayako Kamozawa

We would like to thank the lenders for their generous support:
Anna Heringer
Amy Katoh
Kei Kawasaki
Naohito Shikama
Alexander von Vegesack

The exhibition design has been developed and realized together with graduates of Parsons The New School for Design:
Alana Jiwa
Andrés González Bode
Christopher Koelsch
Kamala Murali

Bridget O’Rourke and Alexander von Vegesack initiated the cooperation between Parsons The New School for Design and the Domaine de Boisbuchet / CIRECA.

Executed with the kind help of:
Alexandre Cros
Carlos Guisasola Suárez
Hadrien Venat

Laura Drouet and Lucie Panis-Jones

Visitor Programme:
Simone Philips
Boisbuchet’s Summer Workshops staff 2013

Marie de Cossette, Independent PR, Paris

(Boro – The Fabric of Life is an exhibition of: CIRECA / Domaine de Boisbuchet, 2013)


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