Shibori Workshop

Yesterday I spent a lovely few hours at a workshop at Craft in the Bay with Catherine Lewis who shared with the four participants her knowledge and skills regarding shibori and dyeing. 

We started off by looking at the wonderful samples Cath had made then we set to for ourselves.

Firstly I used the transfer dyes. There were two types – one was in liquid form and the other crayon. I randomly coloured a sheet of paper using pink and yellow.

I then took a small piece of synthetic material (these dyes don’t work on natural fibres) and pulled pieces through slits cut into a piece of card.

Using a hot iron I placed the dried transfer dye coloured paper onto the top of the fabric and pressed hard.

Here is the result – it’s amazing how the drab colours on the paper zing into vibrant ones when heated. The contortion of the fabric is now permanent.

Here are some more pieces I made.

Cath showed us more of her samples and we went on to do some folding, clamping and  wrapping of fabric for hot water dyeing. 

In my enthusiasm I forgot to take photos of my little parcels before they went into the vat except this one but here they are out of the pot.

The one on the far left was simply wrapped up tightly and tied with thread. The square one was pleated vertically then horizontally then held in place with two blocks of wood either side and again tied with thread. The top piece, middle right, was a long thin piece of fabric twisted and twisted until it wrapped around itself. The last piece had been folded in a triangular shape in concertina fashion and held together with pegs. The pieces were tied onto a clamp for ease of removal from the vat where they were immersed for about half an hour.

Here are the results in the same order.

I went onto another technique – wrapping the fabric around a cylinder and holding it in place with thread.

The fabric was pushed up as tightly as possible then placed in the hot water vat for half an hour.

The result was a fine piece of distorted fabric – lots of tiny folds.

The last piece I made was in the traditional style of tie-dye. I used threads to tightly wrap a small piece of fabric.

By 3 o’clock we had all tidied up and ready to leave after a full few hours. I really enjoyed the day but using synthetic fabrics isn’t for me. I love the randomness of the results and now have a far greater appreciation of the work produced by shibori artists, some of whom produce the most incredible, precise work. 


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