Have you ever had something hit your eye and heart with an overwhelming pow? Moonstruck, the Italians would say. Here are a few pictures of the book Boro; Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan. When I found it on line (as you may remember ;) I hesitated, then kinda snuck up on myself and nabbed it. I just did a search for it and came up with a hit here. It is one of those books that will appear and disappear elusively. If you want it bad, real bad, I suggest you quickly hop on it when you find it.
Here is a link to some great pictures of boro cloth from SRI Threads. There is something so magical about these cloths. They tell me a story.
It is cold in Northern Japan, I see a woman picking through a basket of carefully gathered and saved rags bent over with precious needle and thread. She is dressed in boro (literally "rags"). I can picture her hands, chilled and careful, stitching these rags, rebuilding them into useful and necessary objects. She is thinking "Here is a weak spot I will cover it with this thin bit of fabric. Here, there is a hole. I will layer this heavy fabric piece underneath." I picture her family wearing and using these artworks, born of necessity in their small impoverished home.
What would she think if she knew that her boro had entranced me a century later? Would she be humiliated by her poverty? I hope not, but believe that she would be. There is a certain discomfort when I look at the pictures in this book. And that, my friends, is art. Communication of thoughts and feelings through objects.