TEN - Indigo Shades & Japanese Boro Fabrics

"Ten" takes craft arts, materials, and handcraft techniques that are traditional to Japan and incorporates them into contemporary lifestyles. The name is derived from the Japanese word for "commas". Like those marks, Ten understands itself as a connector that continuously moves us from one idea to the next in a never-ending book. 

As an admirer of Tanizaki’s „In Praise of Shadows“ and Yanagi’s mingei (folk art) movement, Takuya Yamaoka, the founder of TEN, has always strived to produce works that change in fascinating ways the longer one uses them — works that deepen in character every time they are mended. His choice of material also reflects a hope that he is able to play a small role in ensuring that such traditional techniques do not disappear from Japan. Yamaoka hopes that his works will find a loving, life-long home with owners from Japan and around the world who appreciate values such as quality, tradition, and the importance of recycling. 

Boro - Stylish indigo shades and scruffy fabrics make up shabby street chic 

Boro is the traditional clothing that was worn by peasants, merchants or artisans in Japan’s feudal times from Edo up to early Showa (17th- early 19th century), when the majority could not afford the lavish silk kimono and vivid obi worn by the aristocracy.  

Highly sophisticated sewing and weaving techniques were applied to the boro fabric - homespun hemp that was abundant compared to scarce cotton - mixed with some cotton that would make it warmer. 

Even though the term “boro” literally means rags or scraps of cloth, it is also used to describe used household items that have been repaired many times. Each garment would be used a lifetime and passed down through generations. 

Borrow shows the value of time spent, not money.  As Boro uses everything and wastes nothing, it stands for eco-friendliness and reflects the Japanese value of „mottaini“, meaning „too good to waste“ - an idea that has been neglected by the modern lifestyle of consumerism. It also exemplifies the Japanese aesthetic of Wabisabi, in that the fabric reflects the beauty of natural use and imperfection. 

However, following the Meiji Period and the general increase in living standards amongst the entire Japanese population, most boro pieces were discarded and replaced by newer clothing since it was perceived as an embarrassing reminder of former poverty.

In recent decades, government and cultural institutions have rediscovered the cultural and artifactual value of boro garments and since each boro item is absolutely unique, it has become valued as highly collectible art pieces.

For the first time outside Japan, „Ten“ is using Boro to make cushions, bed-covers, scarves, plaids, wallets and several other home and fashion-accessories. All items are unique pieces: it’s just impossible to have 2 pieces of Boro fabric that look excatly the same.

NANBU SAKIORI

Sakiori is a traditional weaving style that was developed in the 17th century in the southern Aomori Prefecture, Japan. The region has a cold climate that is at once well suited to heat-preserve cotton kimono, and also unsuitable for growing cotton. 

Before the 17th century, when cotton was difficult to get ahold of, the people in the prefecture wove kimono out of hemp and wisteria. However, ships eventually began to sail north across the Sea of Japan from Osaka to Aomori, delivering second-hand kimonos that people in the cities had grown tired of, as well as unused scraps of cotton cloth.

Weavers in Aomori would carefully tear these apart to produce cotton strings that they would intertwine with hemp strings to weave vertical threads, as well as thin strips of old cloth that they would use as horizontal threads. This eventually came to be known as sakiori—which literally means “tear apart and weave.” By using every part of these scraps —unraveling what was torn and then reweaving it into a usable form— these Aomori weavers developed a style that we might today refer to as “recycling” or “upcycling.” 

Boro is also using the Sakiori weaving technique to make beautiful home accessories. 

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