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resist dyeing

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Shibori – Experiments on Silk Scarves

The Shibori Process

Shibori is a Japanese word for a technique in which fabric is shaped, bound and dyed. Some may call it tie dye, but it is a far more sophisticated technique of resist dyeing.. My art lies somewhere between the two as I would never have the patience for controlling the pattern as it’s done in Japan. My work is still carefully planned but also sometimes unpredictable.

I begin with folding the blank twill scarves in half, so that each end will be symmetrical. From there I fold lengthwise and into triangular shapes. There are many ways to fold but I’ve found that the triangles contrast well with later horizontal patterns. After clamping and dyeing the completed triangle, there’s a lot of white in evidence, but it will get coloured with dye at the next stage. I first iron and then refold in the same way but this time into a long silk strip. This is wound carefully around a tube. Whilst beach combing in Angelsey, Wales I came across a strong plastic tube that has been very useful for this technique. I have other assorted PVC pipes, tubes and C clamps.. After dyeing, I may unfold, iron and repeat to achieve more depth of colour. When satisfied with the patterning, I lay the ironed scarves flat on plain newsprint ready for rolling around a metal pole and placing in the steamer. These don’t need as long in the steamer as the batik scarves. I have a video about steaming the batik silk scarves on my YouTube channel.