The indigo vats have finally come to order and I am keen to dye some lovely silk I have had for some time now. I want to try the Arashi Shibori method as I have never attempted it before.

Shibori is a Japanese term for several different methods of resist dyeing cloth to make patterns, either by folding, binding, twisting or compressing – each method resulting in a different pattern.

Natural indigo dye was primarily used on fabrics like silk, cotton and hemp.

Arashi shibori is also known as pole wrapping shibori. The cloth is wrapped diagonally around a cylindrical object like a pole or pipe and tightly bound with thread or string. The cloth is then scrunched down on the pole and dyed, resulting in a diagonal slashed pattern mimicking rain from a heavy storm.

My first attempt was a very simple procedure, whereby I measured the silk so it was 1 inch wider than the circumference of my selected pole which was an 8 inch diameter pipe. I stitched the long edges to make a tube to fit snuggly over the pole.

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I then scrunched the silk on the pole to make a resist and soaked it for 24 hours in plain water.

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The following day I scrunched it tighter still on the pole and took it to my dye shed and patted off the excess water with a clean towel.

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I carefully immersed the pole into the indigo vat for five minutes. I deliberately didn’t push the silk to the bottom edge of the pole as there is sediment at the bottom of indigo vats which you don’t want to disturb at this point.

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After five minutes I carefully lifted the pole out of the vat trying to avoid making any drips or to introduce oxygen into the vat.

Notice how the colour changes from blue/green

Notice how the colour changes from blue/green

to blue when it is exposed to the air……MAGIC!

to blue when it is exposed to the air……MAGIC!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I left it to oxidise for five minutes, re-dipped it again in the vat for a further 5 minutes and left it to dry on the pole. I then washed and rinsed it and hung it out to dry.

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I quite like the pattern and the silk feels soft and in good condition. Next time I am going to wrap the silk diagonally around the pole and compare the difference in the pattern.

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