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The Art of Shibori

Have you seen the beautiful Shibori designs trending in popular shops lately? From shirts to sheets, towels to pillowcases, socks and more, you can create your own pieces using natural indigo dye with me this month!

Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique which is derived from the root verb shiboru: “to wring, squeeze, and press.” It is a method that involves folding, twisting, or bunching fabric, binding it, and then dyeing it in indigo dye. Wherever the fabric has been bound will resist the dye, and remain white, while the rest of the fabric transforms into a rich, inky, blue color. The technique used to manipulate the cloth will result in many shape-resisted designs - there’s a multitude of possibilities.

Shibori is one of the oldest dyeing techniques in Japan, dating back to the 8th century where indigo was the main dye used. Traditionally, the Shibori dye techniques were applied to silk and hemp. In feudal Japan, clothes were often made from hemp rather than the more expensive silk or cotton. Many people could not afford to replace old clothes, so they would repair and re-dye them, and the art of Shibori evolved as a means of making old clothes look new. Shibori became revered in all levels of society; producing kimonos for the aristocracy and as folk art. After tie-dyeing silks and clothing pieces for over 12 years, I noticed a Shibori kit offered on the website that I buy dye from and decided to try it. After learning the folding and binding techniques, I tied up my first white piece, and submerged it into the dye bath. It turned lime green! When I took it out of the vat 5 minutes later and placed it on the tarp, it transformed from lime green into the most beautiful indigo blue in seconds. It was kind of amazing to a girl who loves science and color. I was hooked!

It’s easy to learn and it’s up to you how much time you want to spend on binding and folding. Even tying one simple knot in the middle of a t-shirt turns out beautifully. Wrapping twine around fabric a multitude of times can be very meditative.

I want to share this fun and beautiful creative process with you on Tuesday, August 21 at 3 p.m. $20 includes: all- natural indigo dye, bands, poles, boards and other Shibori supplies. Bring: White clothing/items, such as cotton, silk, wool, rayon or viscose to be dyed. RSVP here and join us.

Leave Pathways having expressed your creativity with a unique piece of art that you’ve created to keep for yourself or to gift!

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