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Kinda Blue - Indigo Dyed Textiles of Rural Japan

Textile dealers Alan Marcuson and Diane Hall of Brussels and London will be showing a selection of rural Japanese indigo textiles at the gallery of Bachmann Eckenstein in Basel from November 2-7.

Textiles have always been highly valued in Japan and while its sophisticated and highly decorative urban silks are well known the world is less familiar with its rural cotton and linen textiles, more often than not, indigo dyed in a wide range of highly skilled techniques.

For the show Marcuson and Hall will present primarily two very different types of indigo dyed textiles; meticulously executed tie-dyed textiles known as Shibori and Boro, the patched bedding textiles of the northern Islands and sea coast of Japan

Boro is Japanese vernacular meaning “falling apart” and the term used for describing patched and repatched futonji as well as other repaired bedding and clothing. Cotton was a precious commodity in the northern areas of Japan where it was too cold to grow cotton. Seafaring rag traders plying northern Japanese coastal waters sold used, discarded cotton cloth from southern Japan to poor rural and coastal communities

Artists and collectors have been drawn to boro for their emotional power and their invocation of the hard and frugal lives of the common people of the rural areas of northern Japan. The unintended beauty of these textiles emphasizes the Japanese concept of Muge, the place before beauty and ugliness.

Shibori, tie dyed textiles of Japan, have both differences and similarities to boro. While the beauty of boro is accidental and was never meant to be seen, shibori is well thought out and professionally executed. But the nature of the process can lead to unforeseen beauty when the dyed piece is finally revealed. Several of the pieces featured will be shibori gleaned from yukata (summer kimono) and remade into futongawa (futon cover) and furoshiki (wrapping cloth). Once again the frugality and need to make do lead to pieces with unexpected vitality and strength.

The exhibition is online:

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