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

Written on 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)




Comments closed

  1. Comment by velma:

    i would love to spend some time in these galleries, to sense it all, to have my senses enthralled! beautiful, indeed.

    June 15, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  2. Comment by Claudia:

    Congratulations to all- what a brilliant exhibition- and in such an amazing place! I’ve been going over and over your pictures and explored Amy Katoh. Thank you so much for posting this, and for your thoughtful remarks about the wabi sabi viewpoint. All so interesting.

    June 16, 2013 @ 2:35 am

  3. Comment by Kristin:

    Wow, what a beautiful exhibit. The perfect place for old cloth.

    June 19, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

  4. Comment by Stephen:

    For Sara Penn who left a comment here: I tried emailing you at the address you wrote, however my email to you was immediately bounced back to me.

    June 19, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

  5. Comment by bernadette maille:

    what a wonderful surprise !!!
    I’m a french artist .I live in bordeaux and I follow your blog since a few years. You make me discover the old boros from japon so i am very enthousiast to see your collection coming so near from me !!!
    and your exhibition seems so exceptional !!!!
    thank you so much

    June 26, 2013 @ 5:55 am

  6. Comment by Mora:

    Congratulations on such a stunning display of boro. The display and the setting were the perfect complement to the pieces. Bravo!

    July 3, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  7. Comment by Susan:

    What a beautiful, thought-provoking exhibition! I wish I could see it in person, but thank you for sharing it online. A tour de force!

    July 25, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

  8. Comment by India Flint:

    echoing Susan’s comment…

    October 30, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  9. Comment by Helen Thompson:

    wonderful– now to transport myself to France for an afternoon

    October 31, 2013 @ 7:48 am