Thursday, September 26, 2013

irresistible: indigo resist

I've always liked resist printed indigo textiles, but lately I've found them irresistible. The other day I purchased a Japanese boro quilted textile- my first foray into boro. The piece could have been intended for use as a rug or other functional household item. 

It is made of hand loomed and hand dyed indigo katazome cotton and its dimensions are 49" x 52". The piece is reversible and has a checked ikat fabric on the reverse side. It is quilted with a basic sashiko stitch. 

The fabrics are Meiji period, over 100 years old, and the indigo floral print depicts chrysanthemums. Katazome is a traditional Japanese resist dye technique. Before dying, resist paste was applied through a stencil, or kata. Japan's mended and patched textiles are called boro, or ragged- and the first time I saw these remarkable objects, I was very drawn to them. It was an exhibit called "Mottainai: The Fabric of Life" at the Japanese Garden in Portland, and I posted two blogs about it!


While I was shopping, I picked up another lovely textile- a piece of hand loomed, hand dyed katazome with fanciful floral motifs including flowers that look very much like lotus. 

The fabric could have been used as a futon cover or for another everyday, utilitarian purpose. There are patches on the back- evidence of the boro style of patched and mended "ragged" textiles.

It's no surprise that I'm finding indigo so irresistible. I live in indigo garments- American denim jeans- Old Navy and Lucky Brand. Most of them are ragged at the cuffs, and a few have holes, but in the Mottainai spirit, they will be worth reusing when I'm through wearing them.

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