August meeting report

The topic for the August meeting was Japanese boro, facilitated by three EFTAG members, Irene Berry, Joan Flynn and Hilary Metcalf.



Hilary gave a talk on the history and origins of boro.  Some great information came from this excellent book. It documents part of the collection of Chuzaburo Tanaka, who made it his mission to collect examples of Japanese working class clothing, known an ‘boro’, literally, ‘rags’.

The items shown in the book can be seen on permanent display at the Amuse Museum in Asakusa, Tokyo.

Another book that provided source material was this one.

While this doesn’t have very good (or very many) photos of old clothing it does recount in great detail, and with searing honesty, the lives of poor Japanese women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here is a link to an extract from two of the stories in the book.  Be warned, these stories are very confronting and difficult to read, as are the others in the book.

If you would like to know more about Japanese textiles, then check out this excellent resource.

Here is an inspiring collection featuring boro, kantha and other forms of slow-stitch using the simple running stitch – sashiko.

Did you know that on 8th February every year, there is a ceremony to lay to rest old, broken and rusted needles?  針供養 (harikuyou) is  the annual needle memorial service held at various shrines and temples. You can read about it here.

The topic of cleaning of kimono was discussed, and members wondered why kimono are traditionally taken apart and reassembled into one long length for cleaning.  This article explains.

There was a great turn out, including three visitors (and potential new members?), plus some long-standing members we haven’t seen in a while.  After the talk, members were invited to dive into the fabric stash supplied by the three presenters and choose pieces to collage together and then texturize and embellish with simple running stitch (sashiko).

There was a lot of good energy in the room and everyone went home with a piece of stitching well underway.

So, in summary, everyone had a great day, learnt a bit about Japanese history and culture, made some new friends, and did some sewing. Not a bad way to spend a sunny Saturday!

And, the Recipe page has been updated.  Check it out!

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