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Shibori Techniques

Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique that involves. folding, twisting, bunching or clamping and binding cloth to form sections that will resist the dye and form contrasting patterns – depending on how the cloth has been manipulated, very different patterns can be created.

When choosing fabric it is important that it is a natural material – cotton,silk, wool or linen work well.

Commercial fabric is often coated, and it is important to wash this coating off so it won’t interfer with the dye.

Some forms of Shibori are known in the West as tie-dye. There are numerous combinations of shaping the fabric before dyeing – some of the most well known and popular methods that are each designed to achieve specific results are:-

1. Kanoko Shibori – (The Bound Resist Technique) is perhaps the most popular method because it is very similar to the method of tie dye that may people are used to. This method simply uses rubber bands or string to pinch, bind and shape the fabric into unique patterns. Small individual sections of cloth are bound with thread to create a pattern, and the pattern results from how tightly the cloth is bound, and how the individual sections are arranged. If random sections are bound, the whole piece has a random look to it. If the cloth is folded then bound, the circles will be in a repeating pattern based on how the folds were made.

2. Arashi Shibori – (The Pole-wrapping Technique) This method involves wrapping the fabric around a pipe – for example a PVC pipe – then binding the fabric with thick yarn or twine. This method will give you a final look with a pattern of diagonal or wavy lines. The word “arashi” means strorm in Japanese. This name comes from the way the final pattern resembles rain in a storm or stormy seas. Sometimes the thread is deliberately changed to a different thickness in order to create a specific design.

3. Itajime Shibori –  (Fold and clamp Technique) In its traditional form, this type of shibori involves sandwiching cloth between two pieces of wood which are then bound together with string. This prevents dye from penetrating wherever it is clamped. This technique uses folding and clamping methods to give a distinct, geometric pattern. This method is one of the most popular shibori methods – and this is what many people think of as shibori.

For this method the fabric is wrapped around a wooden block of any shape. The fabric is folded around these shapes and then clamped together to give a repeating, geometric appearance.

4. Kumo Shibori – (Spider Web) Like kanoko shibori, the kumo method is probably familiar to those who have experienced in tie dyeing. This method involves pleating, pinching and twisting with  rubber bands to give a spider web like appearance. The fabric is wrapped around objects often stones and held in place with rubber bands.

5. Miura Shibori – (The Looped-Binding Technique) This method is unique because it uses a hooked needle to pull sections of the fabric which are then wrapped in string or twine to bind them loosely. The thread is carried from section to section unknotted so the tension is relatively loose and the final piece has a softer look.

6. Nui Shibori – (The Stitch-Resist Technique) This method is similar to the kanoko method in terms of the overall appearance and pattern. The main difference between these two methods is in the method used for binding the fabric and creating the pattern. Nui uses basting stitches to create the pattern – whilst kanoko uses rubber bands.

7. Ne-Make Shibori (object binding) is a process that involves wrapping the fabric around objects – usually round –  and binding them to create different patterns. The kit includes 20 wooden beads but you can also use all sorts of items like pebbles, marbles, beads and buttons to achieve different looks.

Our kit is aimed at beginners and introduces the Ne-Make Shibori Technique (above) which involves binding cloth around the beads and binding with rubber bands to create a beautiful circular design on the silk scarf.