What is Boro?
The story of Boro begins in the early nineteenth-century rural Japan. Weather in the northern provinces was too cold for growing cotton, so women in farming and fishing villages wove fabric from hemp and ramie. Preparing the plants and weaving the coarse fiber was time-consuming, so out of necessity women patched clothing and futon covers with scraps of fabric and sashiko stitching.
Over many generations, the repaired textiles acquired more and more layers of patching and stitching, until the original fabric was unrecognizable. The remaining examples of these garments are on exhibit in museums and have become known as Boro – a Japanese word meaning “tattered rags”.
Boro-Style for MODERN MAKERS
Not unlike quilting, boro developed out of necessity and is now a creative textile tehnique. Modern makers practice extreme patching and visible mending as both an artistic expression and a statement of the recycle/reuse/re-purpose movement.