A Word On Boro


Much of what you will find here is an homage to boro. I endeavor to weave pieces of authentic boro into my work as a constant return to the values that I think are important yet lacking in our culture. In Japanese, boro literally means ‘rags,’ or ‘scraps of fabric’. The ethos of boro, or rags gone to repair to preserve the usefulness of a thing, is the epitome of economy and a vital philosophy that nothing should be wasted, specifically things that have been given great care to produce in the first place, such as cloth. This thing that we now take for granted which cloaks and shelters us, gives us expression and opportunity to celebrate our very being. There is nothing more essential than cloth, and we are one and all intimately connected to it. It is a rare thing the human who is not.

I believe boro is a metaphor for life: that which grows old finds a rich and complex beauty; it does not simply whither and die. The pastiche of layered cloth represents our very own complexity, the repair involved so reminiscent of the many repairs that we must make along our paths as we move through our lives. Boro offers that as life is inevitably rife with challenges, we are wise to tend to our lessons so that we emerge more beautiful, more deeply dimensional because of them.

The cloth pieces that I use in my homage to boro date back to the earlier part of this century and have endured, their individual patina giving every slip a unique personality. Most of the cloth that has undergone repair decades ago retains its original stitching, this which still holds fast and rarely needs my own repair. My work with original boro is more of an elaboration on this exquisite thing whose beauty needs no intervention. It is an honor and a privilege that I have been called upon to work with these wise, old textiles. I hope what I make with them does them justice, as I do feel such a responsibility to them. I have to this day never thrown away even a scrap of antique Japanese fabric. It all finds a use in my workshop. The same is true for new cloth. It is my medium, and there is nothing that I cherish more.