Exhibit at PNW Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum: Down the Rabbit Hole

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Name: Exhibit at PNW Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum: Down the Rabbit Hole
Date: November 3, 2021 - January 30, 2022
Event Description:
Welcome to the rabbit hole.

This all started with a perfectly innocent internet search to research the origins of crazy quilting and quickly developed into a fascination that became a passion.

With our original search long forgotten, we dived deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole learning the origins and purpose of sashiko and boro. Whose hands made these stitches? How did they make these stitches? What were their lives like? Why did they stop? All these questions (and so many more) led us along a pathway that found us linking our own backgrounds growing up in remote or working-class households where we used similar techniques to mend and reinforce fabrics.

As you walk through the exhibit, you will follow our pathway through the rabbit hole. From our first attempts at replicating the patchwork and stitching we saw in that first browser window, to our understanding of the original uses of boro patchwork and sashiko stitching, our understanding of the history of the (now) craft and art form and the people whose hands worked to patch and mend fabrics that we now look at as gorgeous textiles to be preserved, studied, and learned from. Follow along through our discovery and adaptation of boro and sashiko into a style of patchwork that creates new textiles for garments home decor and accessories, though our classes and the creation of the pieces from our book, to applying the three beans philosophy to a new (to us) technique for of quilting that melds pieces of fabric together in an abstract fashion to create new textiles.

With this knowledge, and our new skills, we developed classes and began to write our book Boro and Sashiko: Harmonious Imperfection. What you see here in this exhibit are pieces we created from our first glimpse into the rabbit hole and all along the way as we taught and created new designs based on our understanding and interpretation of these traditional Japanese techniques of boro and sashiko.

Sashiko –Translation: Little Stabs
Boro –Translation: Rags

Developed in the northern part of Japan as a way of using and re-using scraps of fabric, Boro is the method of layering of pieces of fabric over other fabric, using sashiko to reinforce and patch garments and other household items. Over the centuries sashiko and boro have become artforms all their own.
Shannon and Jason Mullett-Bowlsby are the dynamic DIY duo known as the Shibaguyz. Their award-winning crochet, knit, and sewing designs have been featured in and on the covers domestic and international publications and their craft, portrait, and fashion photography has appeared in books and magazines around the globe. The Shibaguyz have published 10 books of crochet and knitwear patterns including Complete Crochet Course –the Ultimate Reference GuideDesigner Crochet, and Crochet Geometry. Their latest book is titled Boro & Sashiko: Harmonious Imperfection from C&T Publishing.

The Shibaguyz have been teaching adults for 20+ years. With their mastery of subjects from crochet and knitting to photography, spinning, sewing, and quilting, their enthusiasm, quirky sense of humor, and relatable teaching style have made them sought after teachers in both local and national venues such as Houston Quilt Festival, Pacific International Quilt Festival, and the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN). They also have a wide range of online classes available from Craftsy and Creative Spark Online. The “edu-tainment” experience of a class with the Shibaguyz will leave you informed, empowered, and in stitches (see what we did there?). The team’s artistic focus tends to wander wildly resting on whatever next step catches their creative drive. Their overall interests ensure they always have a few projects in the queue.
Pacific NW Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum
703 S 2nd St
La Conner, WA
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