Shibori, Japanese indigo tie-dye.

Shibori is a Japanese word for a kind of dyeing method.  Generally put, it's a kind of tie-dye.  Fabric is folded, tied, stitched or sandwiched between wooden blocks.  Then it is submerged into a dye bath.  When the bundle is unfurled, you get various pattern depending on the method you used to bundle the fabric.  Pattern can be geometric or organic, subtly nuanced or sharp.  Indigo bath was often used for Shibori method of dyeing.  

Itajime shibori is a method where wooden blocks are used to block out certain portion of fabric from accepting dye.  Fabric is folded, then sandwiched between two identical shaped wooden blocks before being submerged in the indigo vat.  After first round of dip dyeing, the wooden blocks can be repositioned on the same fabric to create a second layer of pattern.  Above silk fabrics were dyed in this fashion with two layers of patterns.  It can be time consuming, but having more complicated pattern and variation in shades of indigo is worth trying.

Color of indigo looks slightly different on cotton.  Piece on the left is indigo dyed silk and on the right, indigo on cotton.  Silk tend to absorb indigo at faster rate than the cotton.  On silk, indigo is more subtle shade of blue, where indigo on cotton tend to be vivid and bit more raw navy.  Cotton on the right is dyed with "Arashi" shibori method.  Arashi means "storm" in Japanese.  Characterized by jagged lines, it's easy to know why it's called storm.  This Arashi Shibori involves wrapping the fabric onto a cylinder shaped wood piece (in this modern version, a PVC cylinder from hardware store).

Prepping the fabric can take a short time or a very long time, depending on the method you choose.  There are literally thousand of different types of shibori.  But once you get the basic rules behind Shibori process, you can easily understand why there are endless varieties of patterns. If Anyone's interested on trying their hands in this process, there are workshop available in my studio.  Happy indigo Summer!


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