As I was researching indigo and boro fabrics in Japan, I came across a showroom located in Greenpoint Brooklyn, just blocks from my apartment. I’m finally back in NY now, after several months of traveling, and I have an appointment to visit Sri today. I arrive at the building and I’m surprised to see a lovely courtyard as I enter.
It’s quite a contrast from the industrial exterior.
Stephen greets me at the door and I’m immediately transported back to Japan. He has a lot of good boro fabric pieces and sashiko stitched items. I ask him several questions about the history of boro. It’s difficult to find information about it, especially outside of Japan.
He has a great little library and suggests several books related to boro and other Japanese textiles. He sparks my interest when he speaks about boro as an improvisation. His says it’s structure is “out there” like the music of John Cage, and advises me that I will have to rethink how to approach my creative process if I want to combine elements of boro into my paintings. These fabrics were not planned pieces. He says that boro is like a mirror, it can reflect many things and I must use my personal narrative to expand on its properties. It’s at once something and nothing.
Stephen is a great resource and I hope to go back and chat with him more. I buy an out of print book titled “Riches From Rags” and a small piece of boro fabric.