Shibori is a Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing it, or capping. Its a bit like tie-dye but in a much more controlled and beautiful way.
I first discovered the craft of Shibori while at University, studying Textile Design back in 1993. At the time I was heavily into silk screen printing and experimenting with dyes and silk (cost me a small fortune in silk). I was dying silk but first tying the silk up and wrapping rubber bands round it – the results were interesting, so I carried on experimenting with different types of silk and different binding techniques. One day a lecturer left a book on my workspace about Shibori. Thats when I discovered that I’d been doing Shibori without realising it. Coincidently, around that same time I was getting into the whole Japan theme – taking images from everyday Japanese life and mixing up patterns from nature and man made (street lamps and bamboo) – See the dress below from my ‘A typical Japanese day’ project.
There are many ways you can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress fabric for shibori, and each way results in very different patterns. Each method is used to achieve a certain result, but each method is also used to work in harmony with the type of cloth used. Therefore, the technique used in shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed. Also, different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.
Here are some examples of the Shibori I made.
And here is the silk dress I made for my ‘A typical Japanese day’.