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International Quilt Study Center & Museum: Japanese Indigo Dyeing

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum (IQSCM) in Lincoln, Nebraska, is partnering with American Patchwork & Quilting to share information on quilting traditions from around the world.


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Utilitarian Quilts: Boros

This 19th-century utilitarian quilt, or boro, meaning "tattered rags," features indigo-dyed woven fabrics saved from worn clothing and household textiles and repurposed.

According to Ducey, boros were once regarded with shame in the Japanese culture because they represented economic hardship. But she believes interest in boros has grown in recent years due to their resemblance to modern-day art quilts.

"That’s what I find so fascinating about these boros—the textiles were used and reused," Ducey says. "We take textiles for granted, but they have always been of great value many cultures."

Photo courtesy of International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2009.017.0007.