In researching my thesis on traditional Japanese boro textiles and contemporary art, craft and design, I began to feel a sense of discomfort. What is my relationship as a twenty-first century, middle-class white artist to these textiles, borne out of a very different culture, and a difficult, impoverished time and place in Japanese history? Are there ethical bounds around discussing and working with domestic textiles from a different past, and if so, what are they?
This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft. I gratefully acknowledge The Craft, Creativity and Design Center for their generous support.