Weaving velvet...


If ever I could find a velvet frock such as this one, something in this exact shade of green,
I just might be encouraged to change my mind forever about the wearing of dresses
(which I never wear)
Yes.  Definitely.  This would persuade me.
oh, and the glorious stitching details at the cuffs...
~ painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'Veronica Veronese' ~

These I would NOT wish to wear,
not one little bit...
They must have been the height of fashion in their day, worn by Lady Mary Stanhope around 1660...
blue velvet, embroidered with silver gilt thread...once tied across the tongues
with decorative ribbons perhaps...
~ Shoe Collection, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, UK ~

Back to the future...where a wall can be velvet...
~ Capital Museum in Beijing, photo (c) Trey Ratcliff ~

where we can travel in style if we want to...these seats look comfy don't they,
~ Hankyu velvet, photo (c) Sam Bowman ~

...not nearly as inviting as these velvet seats.
~ Rocks, Moss & Water, photo (c) Martin Cathrae ~

Watchers.  They wear their velvet in summer...
~ Prairie Grass Bucks, photo (c) shadarington ~

and the groves, their velvet raincoats...
~ trees covered in velvet moss, photo (c) KWDesigns ~

...while here at home, repurposed velvet becomes a bit of architecture for my long cloth...

What a gathering has happened over at Spirit Cloth!
'Contemporary Woven Boro'...a workshop who's meaning redefines itself each day...
over one hundred of us (imagine that)
*traveling companions* engaged in the common language of cloth:
 weaving, stitching, experimenting, learning from one another...
jumping off...out...even when there appears (at first) to be no familiar net to catch us.


The humble cloths that are Japanese 'boro'...


Multiple layers of extensively repaired and patched fabrics...

hand-sewn for practical purposes, for retaining warmth...

utilitarian assemblages such as futon covers

or clothing such as a 'yogi' (sleeping garment used as a blanket)

...abundant use of recycled indigo dyed rags

and handwoven cotton & hemp scraps, 
repeatedly mended...

some held together by thousands of 'sashiko' stitches
transformed into something precious and valuable.

"These textiles are generational storybooks, lovingly repaired
& patched with what fabric was available.
Never intended to be viewed as a thing of beauty,
these textiles today take on qualities of collage, objects of history,
and objects with life and soul."

~ John Foster, Accidental Mysteries blog ~

tatters, telling complex stories...

"although boro has become a bit of a trend these days, the raggedy edges
and patching and primitive approach to cloth making...there is a subtle reminder
that this was not an intended art form.
this was life, mending, thrift, respect for cloth.
this is the result of living small with consciousness of means.
the need to stay warm, the patience to repair, restore and to keep going...
and the resulting beauty in that."

All photographs courtesy of kimonoboy.com 
where a short history on Japanese textiles can be found here.