Le sigh. Knee-buckling gorgeousness in France this summer.
If you're also a fan of my Facebook Page, you may remember that back in the spring I applied for a fellowship to work in France for 2 weeks in June. Sadly I was not selected, but the exhibit that was put together by the fellows from Parsons is up now at the Domaine de Boisbuchet in Lessac, and it looks unspeakably beautiful.
The exhibit consists of a collection of Japanese textiles – kimono, quilts, mattress covers, bags – made by peasants from patched and stitched indigo-dyed cotton.
Until well into the 20th century, large parts of Japan were so poor that people could rarely buy textiles for clothing and bedding. In northern areas, cotton was especially precious and pieces of used fabric were purchased in order to patch-work them into clothing or duvets. Many of these textiles had been mended repeatedly from generation to generation without being thrown away. “Boro textiles were the domain of the ordinary man and represented a collective, impoverished past. They were largely forgotten after the mid-twentieth century when Japan’s society shifted towards mass-scale modernization and urbanization. However, they are the tangible embodiment of a cultural legacy which has only recently been accorded a formal name and has received critical consideration”, explains Mr. Szczepanek.
They are displayed in the 1860 manor house on the estate, where the bare rooms, natural light, and slightly decayed decorative details provide the perfect contrast to the minimal shapes; dense, organic construction; and spare beauty of the textiles.
(Click to enlarge the images below)
Interspered throughout the exhibit of traditional Japanese pieces are modern garments constructed using similar quilting and patching techniques, made from upcycled sari material by women in Bangladesh.
The exhibition page is worth taking a look at, and there is a lovely video which shows how the exhibition was designed and put together.
And if you're traveling to France anytime soon, it looks like this would be an out-of-the-way gem in a lovely area to visit.