TATTERED RAGS: The Art of Boro


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Saturday, March 21, 2015 10 am, Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

This not-to-be missed lecture speaks of the art of boro, the term roughly meaning “castaway rag.” These tattered rags and the articles pieced together from them would be considered of little to no value in the past. However, to us they define a new aesthetic and meaning to an alternative creative process, e.g. darning = healing, meditative action = marking time, reuse/repair = recording history.

Ms. Wada will discuss folk textiles from Japan’s recent past, such as comforters, fisherman’s coats, lumberjack’s vests, and other everyday-wear made of plant fiber mixed with used cotton textile and dyed in indigo, and extensively patched and darned to utilize the limited resources of the regions. Its imperfect beauty possesses a power that resonates with people and points to an alternative value of “beauty” slowing coming to surface in our social consciousness.

Who better to share the story than acclaimed lecturer, author, and curator, Yoshiko I. Wada. Considered one of the most important teachers of textiles in the world, Ms. Wada single-handedly introduced the art of Japanese shibori to the West and has been producing DVDs on sustainable natural dyeing and organic colors. She is the founder of the Slow Fiber Studios and has served as a trustee for the American Craft Council, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Capp Street Project, and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art.

She has also curated exhibitions, including “The Kimono Inspiration: Art and Art to Wear in America” at The Textile Museum, Washington, DC, and “Ragged Beauty: Repair and Reuse, Past and Present” at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco. Her own work has been exhibited widely since the 19‘70s, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery and the International Textile Fair in Kyoto.