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With an Added Design Component

A FASA Workshop - at the Southwest School of Art

Drawing Studio
Presenter: Mary Ruth Smith
July 30-31, 2016  (Saturday and Sunday) 9:30 - 4:00 p.m.


Boro, a Japanese word, means "tattered rags". It is frequently used to describe carefully patched and mended cotton/hemp bedding and clothing of rural families between 1850 and 1950. This constant repairing allowed the wearing ability for these items to be extended beyond their normal life cycle. Hence, boro fabrics tell us much about the living standards of families and the kind of economy of their time. Overtime, these tattered and mended cloth items have gained a special appreciative aesthetic value with all who see them today. However, it is important to note that the present day appeal of boro relies on a design appeal that developed out of necessity and not one that relied on a careful planning of patched and mended arrangements of repair. Wherever a patch or a mend was needed, that’s where it happened. As objects without function today, they are appreciated for their visual significance and historical importance.

The objectives for the San Antonio workshop will be:      

  1. To provide participants with a historical overview of Japanese boro and its use of mending, patching and stitching to extend the life of clothing and bedding
  2. To introduce participants to the concepts of recycling, refurbishing, upcycling, upscaling, making do, mending and reclaiming, all contemporary trends that describe ways some of today's artists develop their work; many being influenced by boro, some not so much
  3. To use the vocabulary of art/design (elements and principles with examples and handouts)
  4. To compose arrangements of leftover/scrap pieces of fabric/cloth for hand stitching
  5. To introduce ways patchwork, pieced construction, applique, and stitch can be used to create rich and varied cloths composed of many parts and pieces of leftover materials/scraps
  6. To critique work in progress and at end of workshop.

This is a process-oriented workshop whereby students will develop their work through insightful consideration of design elements and principles in making arrangements of fabric scraps/pieces to form unified and varied compositions. Hand stitches (the simple ones) will be used to anchor fabrics and to enhance/embellish visual impact. Throughout the process, students will be guided as they make design decisions. Concepts of what makes a good design will be identified and discussed as students develop their work.

Format: Power point presentations, demonstrations, design handouts and discussions, examples, work sessions, critique sessions (in progress and collectively)

Note: It may not be possible to complete a piece of work during a 2-day workshop, but you should be able to get enough guidance to finalize your work after the workshop has been completed or to develop an entirely new idea that resulted from the workshop itself.

FASA Workshop Cancellation Policy HERE

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