Conversations with Cloth Series 3 – Winter/Spring/Summer 2022 “Stitchery Stories”

NEW:  CWC Series 3:  Stories of Stitchery
LIVE via ZOOM with Yoshiko I. Wada. 

WELCOME, 2022!

Greetings from the World Shibori Network (WSN) and Slow Fiber Studios (SFS). We are leaping into the New Year, strengthening our technology platform and supporting our ever-expanding global paradigm and mission for empowering diverse communities of artists, designers, and artisans. 

WSN is pleased to announce Stitchery Stories, a new set of programs in the Conversations with Cloth (CwC) series. We will be sharing presentations by textile scholars, designers, and practitioners that we anticipate will be relevant and exciting to our textile community. 


Our first program will be:

Episode 1: Japanese Folk Stitchery Stories: Boro on January 27, 2022 I 10:00-11:15 PST I 18:00-19:15 UK time

Yoshiko will expand the dimensions of her essay in the catalog for the Boro–The Art of Necessity exhibition. Over the course of history, before the term “boro” became established, other words in the Japanese language were used by Japanese people to refer to tattered and mended clothing and other textiles, for example, kakafu (759-901), ranru (in Chinese, lan-lu 797), and tsuzure (1170s). Yoshiko will elucidate features of Japanese material culture and illuminate the way language evolves, morphing into meanings that reflect social and cultural contexts. The definition of “boro” has evolved, and will continue to adapt and transform as boro objects journey through time and places.



Episode 2: Japanese Folk Stitchery Stories: Sashiko on February 3, 2022 I 10:00-11:15 PST I 18:00-19:15 UK time

This story covers sashiko’s history and regional styles from the snow countries of the Northeast to the islands in the South. Some of the sashiko work-clothing overlaps with the story of boro. When cotton became available, people began to use stronger and warmer cotton thread on locally woven bast fiber cloth. Soon, stitchers fashioned used cotton cloth into jackets, pants, vests, aprons, leggings, ankle and heel covers, and socks. With a threaded needle as co-agent, stitchers infused thier textiles with reinforcement, repair, and sometimes stunning patterns. Anonymous hands, industrious with needle and thread, transformed cloth into utilitarian textiles, imbuing the material not only with resilience and strength but also with artistry and beauty.



Episode 3: Japanese Stitchery Now: Story of Sashiko in Sweden by Takao Momiyama, February 24,  2022 I 10:00-11:15 PST I 19:00-20:15 Sweden Time

“More than ten years ago, I started working with the Japanese sewing technique sashiko. Sashiko is a sewing technique based on stitches: the simple stitch where the needle and thread move up and down through a fabric surface. The early use of the technology was to strengthen and repair garments. By laying layers of fabric on top of each other and then covering the surface with pre-stitches, the technology can also fulfill another function: the air created between the fabric layers provides a warming effect.”



Episode 4: Japanese Stitchery Now: Story of Sashiko Today, by Atsushi Futatsuya, March 31, 2022 I 10:00-11:15 PST I 13:00-14:15 EST

In Atsushi’s words, “Sashiko is more than just ‘technique’: While teaching Sashiko in English, sharing Stories about Sashiko on SNS, I realize that the Sashiko introduced in English is NOT wrong, but insufficient. In fact, they are missing the most delicious part of the essence of Sashiko. With sharing stories about the Sashiko we practice, I would like to share how Sashiko is interestingly translated to western world. Sashiko is a Japanese word, and therefore it has a deep relation to Japanese Culture.”



Episode 5: Chinese Stitchery Stories: Story of Boro and Sustainable Fashion in China by Gao Yu, April 21, 2022 I 10:00-11:15 PST 

Gao Yu’s story takes us to Guizhou, China. He will share the story of how Chinese boro textiles were discovered and collected there, now exhibited at the fashion designer, He Haiyan’s gallery in Beijing. Learn how Haiyan, now connects and partners with Miao women in Guizhou to translate their stitching, weaving, recycling and sustainability into 21st century lifestyle products. It’s preservation and reimagining of traditional stitchery at work.



Episode 6: Chinese Stitchery Stories: Tracing Textile Technology to Its Origins & Miao Embroidery by Tomoko Torimaru, April 28, 2022 I 10:00-11:15 PST 

Tomoko Torimaru’s research into the vital human technology of needle and thread takes us back to what she believes must be up to 100,000 years in human history–a journey to ancient China, Japan, and the Miao in Guizhou, China. She deciphers for us the beautiful stitchery found in Miao women’s embroidery. At our Stitch-in Social after her talk, we will stitch together what she and Yoshiko now call the “ancient chain stitch.”



Episode 7: Indian Stitchery Stories: Story of Kantha Now, TBD

Episode 8: Indian Stitchery Stories: Story of Rafoogar and Priya Ravish Mehra, TBD

Episode 9: Korean Stitchery Stories: Story of Bojagi TBD

Episode 10: Korean Stitchery Stories: Story of Bojagi Now by Christina Kim,TBD

Episode 11: Stitchery Stories of British Isles TBD

Episode 12: Stitchery Stories of British Isles Now TBD