Tuesday, June 12, 2012

speculative boro

after untold hours of speculative contemplation and meditative needle chanting, my re-newed pair of denims are complete! the wings and skull were hand embroidered onto salvaged lightweight denim. i chose to stitch the wings down, leaving a raw edge so they will fray and soften during future washings, while needle-turning the skull itself to create a cleaner line. i had originally designed the skull with a dropped lower jaw and tongue, but decided to leave them out because the look become more whimsical than i had wanted. the darker circle and rectangle (still sporting some of the seam ombre and wrapping around to the front of the cuff) are from further up on the salvaged denims that the inserted cuffs were harvested from. the lighter denim square on the left cuff sports a seam from it's previous form. the inserts at the bottom of the cuffs were salvaged from another pair of denims that i had blown out the knees on. i chose to use the back seams which had already begun to fray (from my passion for wearing denims a few inches too long in the inseam so they will bunch around the ankles) rather than from the intact front cuffs so that there wouldn't be a harsh transition from the frayed over cuff to a pristine under cuff.

if you've been following my blog for any time (or know me at all), then you already recognize the skull as a personal symbol that i tend to use a lot. i know it touches some of you with its crypt-worn rasp and chilled breath...but for me it has always been a reminder that life is ephemeral and one must make the most of every moment lest those moments be lost forever!

all in all, i am extremely pleased with the way they turned out.  now to turn my creative gaze upon re-newing a few shirts with some speculative boro.



  1. Joe, this is terrific. I find your skull soft and comforting. I like the term, "speculative boro"--yes!

    1. thank you, ali. that is exactly what i was going for with it! :)

      i chose to begin using the term "speculative boro" because that is just what it is to me. traditionally, boro is a utilitarian mending process. here, while i am using it to mend, i am also deliberately using it to adorn. embellish. and to explore techniques and ideas. hence, speculative! ha!

  2. Joe this is just great! inspired & inspiring

  3. WOW!!!
    stunning. i love how this turned out.

  4. WOW, now that is how to mend jeans, brilliant!

  5. i love what you did here as i said over on cb2. it has given me some fresh ideas for mending.

  6. Joe, I think they are fabulous! Love the skull! Needle turned and frayed wings...ain't we all.
    XOX Cat

  7. Turned out great! Really like the skull, as does my guy!

  8. Vanitas boro! I love the idea of the fraying wings as well

  9. Joe, these are wonderful! You did an awesome job. xoxo

  10. Your boro'd jeans are wonderful. The skull and the wings look amazing (and very much you!).

    Jacky xox

  11. Beverly Miller BarnesNovember 4, 2017 at 11:22 PM

    They're absolutely beautiful ! Even at my age (68) I can see myself wearing them.Great job !