A Boro inspired accordion artists' book

Published on 26 April 2023 at 09:35

Manifesto, therapy? Statements on my art practice

An exercise for my degree with the Open College of the Arts led me to discover Japanese boro textiles.  I was inspired to find out more which I have written about on my uni blog here. Through researching the practice I discovered some debate around cultural appropriation when using a traditional Japanese textile practice as a non-Japanese person. The main argument I found was around using the words boro and sashiko without any understanding of the history behind these. Having carried out some research I feel that, although not an expert, I have shown respect by finding out more about the background of the technique.

I wanted to make something influenced by the philosophy of sustainability used in this practice. The work I made is not visually recognisable as boro but has been inspired by aspects of the technique. I have given consideration to some of the complex issues involved in paying homage to a technique, such as boro, that was borne from poverty and need.  More about that can be read in this uni blog post.  

The statements in this book were written in response to researching a range of artists' manifestos.  I wanted to think about what is important to me in my practice and through using the constraint of sevens for my (forty nine years is) Seven Times Seven project  I devised a list of seven, seven word statements.  These focus both on self-belief and ways of working and sum up how I want to work and feel about my own art practice. 

In making the book I was keen to incorporate bits from a bag of multi coloured snips of wool I had saved from making pompoms. Wanting the fluff to show I grabbed a few pieces of thin fabric from my stash of old clothes and offcuts and made some samples using multi-coloured threads in running stitch (as in boro) to trap the fluff between two layers. I then embroidered the statements and added them to the pieces of fabric I had made using small (sashiko like) stitches.

I stiffened each of the seven pieces made with a rectangle cut from milk bottle plastic (using elsewhere in my Milk Wood project). Then joined them into an accordion artists' book with card covers to match the rest of the series.  The finished book can be 'read' by turning the pages or stood up in a range of different ways to show it's sculptural forms.  

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