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japanese-dyeing






'Kaleidoscope' 150 cm sq. Cotton poplin.

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Shibori is a Japanese resist technique which is used when dyeing fabrics. There are many different techniques used when creating the shibori resist, such as; binding, twisting, clamping, folding, stitching, plaiting, knotting and compressing. Each technique has a different name and is used in conjunction with the pattern you want to achieve, and sometimes the fabric used. The cloth records the shape, pattern and pressure used to create the resist before dyeing.
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Indigo dye is often used to dye shibori resists. Indigo is an organic, blue compound which is kept in an indigo vat to preserve it for dyeing. Traditionally, indigo came from plants but nowadays, as blue dyes have become less rare, are more often synthetic. Indigo dye is different from other dyes as it doesn't contain any mordant; this process reduces the indigo which means it rapidly changes from blue to yellow where it then dissolves in an alkaline. When taken out of the vat, the air slowly changes the yellow colour, too a dark, rich blue-indigo colour.
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Shibori and indigo are used together to create a striking, rich pattern. As the shibori resist remains a bright white, and the rest of the fabric turns indigo, the patten appears extremely striking and a dark indigo colour. The more dips a piece of fabric had in the indigo vat, or the longer it is left in, the stronger the colour will become. The picture above shows an example of an indigo dyed shibori which has been dyes many times to create such a strong colour.
By Annie Green


Shibori is a Japanese word for the variety of ways of designed fabrics/textiles by shaping and securing material before dying it. Shibori comes from the Japanese word ‘Shiboru’ which means – to wring, squeeze, press. The word emphasizes the actions performed on the cloth, the process of manipulating fabric.
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Resist dyeing has evolved in many cultures around the world, and can be seen on fabrics made thousands of years ago in Africa, India, China Latin America and many places around Asia. It entered Japan around 1300 years ago from China, along with the Chinese style of dress, and was interpreted in a particularly Japanese fashion. The basic technique of Shibori is to draw a design on a piece of fabric (usually silk or cotton), then to tie very tight knots and when they are untied there is a pattern of dyed and undyed areas. This can be repeated many times to produce patterns of various colour.
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Shibori was originally an art of the poor. In peasant Japan, many people could not afford to buy expensive fabrics like cotton or silk, so clothes were often made of cheap hemp fabrics. People could not afford to replace clothes regularly, so they would repair and redye them, and the art of Shibori evolved as a means of making old clothes look new.
Anna Choutova


Shibori is a Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressinf it. some of these methods are known in the west as tie-dye. Tie -dye simply covers binding methods of dyeing, known as bound resist.
These are nine dyed samples. Indigo is used in all of these samples. Each sample is made by using different techniques. For example the one in the middle looks like a kumo (spiderweb) indigo dyed sample.
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Indigo is an ancient and unusual dye stuff. Egyptian Pharaohs buried their dead in indigo dyed cloth. Indigo has a long history in Africa, China, Japan and India, where it is recorded in four thousand year old Sanskrit documents. Several plants, indigo and woad, produce the dye stuff in their leaves, which are green. The extraction of the dye stuff from the plant is a long and complex process.
Very few natural blue dye stuffs exist, indigo is the only commonly used blue natural dye. Both natural and synthetic indigo are still in use today. The synthetic indigo is cheaper and therefore used to dye your jeans.
This image below is a indigo dyed fabric. By the looks of it, it seems that the technique used is the Kumo technique. I really like this effect and the lines that are produced.
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By Khushboo Wadhani

Indigo was dicorved 5,000 years ago in egypsions cloth know as 'Mummy cloth'. Egygpsions accoshiated indig with roalty (because they were the only people who could affored indigo). One of the plants that produces indgo is called 'Woad plant' it helps with achiving the blues for the indigo. By the 1598 indigo was not allowed in France and most of Germany becasue indigo was only allowed for rolalyty and if anyone that was not a roaly was seen they would be punished. Dyers in France and Germany wear torched until they swor not to use indigo. In 1883 'Adolph von Baeyer' made indigo and by the early 1he indigo molecule and by the early 1900's, the market for natural indigo collapsed.

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Plangi (Tie-Dyed) and Tritik (Stitch0resist) cloth from Nigeria, with raffia, seeds and stones used to create the patterns. Collected 1960s.


Shibori is a word that Japanese use as a meaning of varitey of diffrent techniques used for cloth. You can shape and secure the cloth, this must be done before dyeing. Shobori is also know as to the Japanese as 'to wring, squeeze and press'. Shibori can design a particular group of resist-dye (it's a bit like tie-dye). The techniques used for shibori are: folding, crumpling, stitching, plaiting, plucking and twisting.
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Samples sewn together to make 'yardage'

By Catrin George-Carey


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Ori-nui and mokumi shibori with quilting.

Mokume is a design that is traditional Japanese that is often know to be translated as Wood grain.

The tools that you will require for this simple technique are a needle and thread; you may also require a marker. Once the rows of parallel rows of hand stitching are complete, make sure that they are pulled tightly before dyeing the fabric since it will produce your pattern design. Once your fabric is dyed and dried, make sure you take out the bits of tread before cleaning it on soapy water, this will wash away any bits of any excess dye. Once dried, you can either use an iron to make the fabric flat, or if you prefer it, you could leave it with a crinkled design. You will then see how your design turned out with a series of white dots in the shape you have decided to saw the thread in.

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A bound design, ne-maki shibori combined with a kumo shibori variation, touched with embroidery.

By Joelle Selt