Satin Bower Bird, woven tapestry, 2011, 18 cms H X 15 cms W, wool, cotton, synthetic wefts, embroidery. The male bower bird creates a stage for his courtship. Towards that end he collects bright blue objects, no mean feat in the wild, and he weaves a bower of arching twigs. In weaving the portrait of a fellow male weaver I wanted to play with firstly the large, semi-amorphous shape of black monopolising the field, much as in real life the bird dominates his own constructed fantasy. A rain forest doco showed the bird prancing about, showing off his collection of favourite blues: the spectacle inspired the above image. Taking the bird’s innate love of blue to indigo as a starting point, I was reminded of a recent interaction where I purchased an item of oldish Japanese folk textile, the boro. The context is rural subsistence culture, the textile techniques are many, as the much used futon cover, of indigo dyed cotton, is repeatedly repaired with pieces of indigo-dyed cotton, new is attached to old with white stitches. An attractive textile process that reminds one of so many other traditions: making Amish quilts, weaving kenti strips and assembling them as cloth, the Slovenian tradition of indigo resist-dyed cloth, which would have been familiar to my mother, born in Doklezovje in Slovenia.
The boro that I purchased came from Jim Austin’s KimonoBoy online store in Japan; I can heartily recommend his customer service attitude, his excellent products. His website is