Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bandanas and Boro Cloth -- a followup to Jean Cacicedo's recent talk

Jean Cacicedo's talk on Monday included some fascinating stuff:

She mentioned a book, "Indigo: The Color That Changed the World", which I found on Amazon by Caterine Legrand.    (And for anyone who loves indigo, I personally recommend the video BLUE ALCHEMY,  by Mary Lance.  See

"Boro cloth", much-mended fabric created in Japan, originally by families too poor to buy new fabric, was discussed and shown in Jean's talk.  Here's more information:

With permission from Yew Tree House Antiques, this post displays an image of a boro cloth currently for sale. Put the word "boro" into the website search box to see it and the information about it -- I could not come up with a direct link.

The wool gauze Jean likes is available from Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, whose webpage is

Many of us know that crewel embroidery was an attempt to replicate the patterns on textiles brought to Europe and America from India.  But I certainly didn't know something Jean discovered during a trip to India to study weaving and dyeing techniques:  the origin of the word bandana.

"bandana (n.)
    also often bandanna, 1752, from Hindi bandhnu, a method of dyeing, from Sanskrit badhnati "binds" (because the cloth is tied like modern tie-dye), from same PIE root as band (n.1). Etymologically, the colors and spots are what makes it a bandana."  (from  


"from Hindi bāndhnū tie-dyeing, from bāndhnā to tie, from Sanskrit bandhnāti he ties" (

Now I have to go look at one to see the modern translation of the dot pattern which is India's equivalent of Japanese shibori.  I've put a few internet images with this post, but you can find lots more by searching online yourself.

— Rachel Holmen

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