The Japanese Boro Textile

Japan's mended and patched textiles are referred to as boro, or ragged, both in Japan and abroad. Boro textiles are usually sewn from nineteenth and early twentieth century rags and patches of indigo dyed cotton.  The diversity of patches on any given piece is a veritable encyclopedia of hand-loomed cotton indigo from old Japan. In most cases, the beautiful arrangement of patches and mending stitches is borne of necessity and happenstance, and was not planned by the maker.

Imagine that boro textiles were stitched in the shadows of farmhouses, often at night by the light of one dim andon, on the laps of farm women. This unselfconscious creative process has yielded hand-made articles of soulful beauty, each of which calls upon to be recognized and admired as more than the utilitarian cloth they were intended to be.

-- excerpted from the Sri blog Sri Threads

Join gallerist, historian and curator Stephen Szczepanek of Sri for a talk on the history of Japanese folk textiles, followed by a stitching workshop with author Kaari Meng of French General in Los Angeles.

Stitchers will feast their eyes on examples from both Stephen and Kaari's collections of antique and vintage cloth and then stitch and assemble their own tote bag with a pieced top. Workshop will focus on Sashiko stitching and Boro mending techniques.

Date: Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Time: 1 -5pm
Location: TATTER Blue Library, 505 Carroll Street Suite 2B, Brooklyn NY 11215
Cost: $120
What to bring: All materials are provided in this course

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Our Teachers:

Stephen Szczepanek, Sri

Stephen Szczepanek founded Sri in 2001. Sri is a by-appointment gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that specializes in antique Japanese folk textiles. The gallery focuses on cloth woven from Japanese indigenous fibers, in indigo dyed cotton, and in the patched and mended cloth referred to boro. The collections aim to present a comprehensive offering of the distinctive textile traditions from all regions of old Japan.

You can see more of what Sri is doing at


Kaari Meng, French General

Kaari Meng began French General in 1999 along the Hudson River in Grandview, New York.  After running the general store in Soho on Crosby Street for many years, Kaari and family moved French General to Los Angeles, where it resides today in Frogtown, on the Eastside of LA.

French General is a vintage workshop filled with antique French textiles, beads, buttons and trim.  Kaari has written six books on jewelry making, sewing, entertaining, and collecting.  French General offers workshops on stitching, jewelry, sewing, paper arts, weaving and more.  

French General designs quilting fabric and patterns for Moda as well as a home decorative fabric line for Fabricut.  

Every summer Kaari and her team take groups of women to the south of France to find their inner rural Frenchwoman. You can see more of what they do by visiting