The Art of Repair
Shibori and Sashiko
with Kate Ward

Japanese textiles that have been pieced, patched, repaired and passed down from generation to generation are known as boro. The embroidered and repaired cloths embrace the concept of 'wabi sabi', beauty in an object's impermanence and imperfection, making a feature of the repair is the art of visible mending.

This weekend retreat focuses on natural indigo dye, hand-stitching, and mending. Over the weekend participants will discover the magic of indigo, shibori and sashiko. On the first day we immerse ourselves in the art of shibori, where cloth is bound, wrapped, stitched and clamped to create patterns on fabric dipped in a natural indigo dye vat; and on the second day we learn Sashiko embroidery, a Japanese textile mending and reinforcing technique involving a simple running stitch that creates beautiful yet practical embellishments used to mend clothes while also adding meaning and mindfulness to our work.

Taking the time to create something unique is a beautiful way of connecting with a garment or textiles. Each repair is a creative challenge, a chance for the sewer to express themselves whilst providing time for contemplation and mindfulness. Students will receive individual consultation on how best to mend the one garment they brought to class. Mistakes and wonky stitches are embraced – it's the perfect project for all levels.

Students will leave the retreat with an abundance of fabric swatches dyed with indigo patterns, a sashiko sampler; one mended garment (please bring your own garment for this – denim is a great choice – along with a corresponding patch); printed instructions; references and resources; and the confidence to continue this work beyond the classroom. 

Materials provided include: Sashiko thread, sashiko needles, fabrics for indigo dyeing. Please bring your own garment to mend and a patch of similar fabric – denim jeans should be mended with denim scraps, linen pants with a linen patch, etc. Kate will have limited patches, primarily mid-weight denim, but please bring your own patch to best match your garment.