Stage 4 Raised and structured textures – Shibori

As mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to attend a two consecutive Shibori workshops at West Dean College last September.  At the time, I took the opportunity to enroll on this course whilst in UK as it was proving difficult to find courses on Shibori in Japan in English and this was a technique I was very keen to try.

Having lived for almost three years in Japan, I have become very interested in Japanese Textiles and have always admired the very intricate patterns and textures created using Shibori techniques.  Although the original tutor Michelle Griffiths was unable to take the course as planned, Mandy Southan stepped in at the last minute.  She is an experienced Shibori Artist and author of ‘Shibori Designs and Techniques’.

At the start of the workshop ‘Shibori for texture’. Mandy showed us a selection of fabrics which had been manipulated using shibori techniques to create wonderful three-dimensional qualities.

Here is a selection of some of them:

During the two-day workshop I experimented with a variety of shibori techniques – stitching the polyester and silk fabrics in various ways: gathering; folding; pleating; enclosing shapes e.g. screws or beans and then wrapping thread to create mouldings; the thread secured the fabric in place once it was heat set in a pressure cooker.  Once the fabric had cooled right down the exciting unravelling of thread took place to reveal the marvellous shapes.

The second workshop was entitled ‘Shibori for Colour’ and the emphasis was on the dyeing techniques.  I will report further in another post but just want to show some examples of silk which had been stitched using shibori techniques and then dyed in Indigo:

Fabrics need to be light-weight silk or polyester in order to heat-set.  The pieces of cotton I used did not hold their shape after the stitching was removed although some great patterns were achieved.

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