Shibori is a Japanese word that describes ways of decorating fabric by shaping and securing it prior to dyeing. The techniques used include binding, stitching, folding, and pole wrapping.
The techniques are not exclusively Japanese. All cultures which have woven textiles use some, if not all, of these techniques. This is more than what we in America call “tie-dye”; these are ancient methods of decorating fabric using needle, thread (string, rope, etc.) and dye to produce intricate designs.
Because this is not a machine-driven process, there is an element of the unknown in it. Did I tighten the threads enough? Did I pleat the fabric correctly? Did the cap I put on a section work? Did the dye penetrate too much? Or too little?
When opening a piece that has been dyed, there is always anticipation. The magic happens in the dye vat and that is beyond my control.
I use cotton, rayon, bamboo, or linen cloth for the Shibori that is dyed in indigo. There are some silk items; these were dyed in acid dyes.
I have a number of Shibori books, but my favorites are Stitched Shibori: technique, innovation, pattern, design by Jane Callender and Shibori the Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing: tradition, techniques, innovation by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice and Jane Barton.
Indigo is an ancient blue dye, used by civilizations across the globe. A variety of plants produce the dye — numerous species in the genus Indigofera, as well as woad, dyer’s knot weed, and others. There are various ways to produce an indigo dye vat. For further information, I recommend A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing by Vivien Prideaux.
Shibori designs stitched, folded, pleated, bound and dyed by the Village Knitiot.
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