Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shibori Workshop

Have you noticed the upcoming workshop titled "The Mysteries of Shibori" on our class schedule?  Perhaps you are wondering what it is and why we are so excited about it.  We have invited Cindy Lohbeck from Hands on Hand Dyeing to tell you a bit about this technique and give you a bit of information about what we will be doing and what some shibori panels can look like when they are finished:

When I was recently asked to teach a class on Shibori fabric dyeing, my mind and my dye studio went in to high gear. While I have done fabric dyeing and various types of Shibori for over 30 years this request triggered a focused study that kept me fascinated with the possibilities of this workshop.

With the Indigo Dye & Shibori craze sweeping the design world, it was a good kick-start for a long overdue addition to my line of fabric dyeing classes.

But where would I start? Shibori is a very broad, "umbrella" term for a vast array of techniques. How would I ever narrow down to a workshop what I had spent years exploring? With its roots in Japan, India and Africa, Shibori can easily become a long-term creative exploration. Each culture puts their own "twist" on it (pun intended!) and consequently, the variety of Shibori methods are endless.  While some of these techniques are deceivingly easy, many are laborious and time consuming. I know that with the addition of a few modern tools and innovative, time saving techniques, Shibori can be much more accessible for today's fiber artists
Technically, it is taking a 2 dimensional piece of fabric, and manipulating it into a 3 dimensional fabric "sculpture" by using a variety of tools, folds, stitches and tucks. These tools, folds, stitches and tucks create "resists", or areas where dye cannot penetrate. The resulting patterning possibilities are limitless! I quickly dusted off my bucket of Shibori tools - things you would hardly associate with fabric dyeing, including various sizes of marbles, and rubber bands, plumbing pipes, plastic template shapes, a variety of clamps, and a wide range of thread, string and sinew. Many of these tools had been put aside for several years while in pursuit of other creative endeavors, but I could feel the creative juices flowing. I spent the next 3 months working up samples of each Shibori method I wanted to include in the workshop, feverishly stitching and binding, folding, clamping, twisting and wrapping. The samples that came about were fun and inspiring, and spurred me on to dye some drapery panels for my own home.
As I explored the various techniques, and considered the best classroom experience, it became clear that even if I narrowed it down to 7 or 8 styles, it would still need to be a 2 day experience. The idea of giving a classroom of student the identical tools, fabric, and fabric manipulation techniques and ample time for fabric prep on the first day. Day two would begin by introducing several different dye possibilities for each folding method. This would allow every student to put their own twist on each technique, whether they chose traditional Indigo, or a multitude of colors. The diversity of the fabrics that would "unfold" is intriguing to dream about.  One of my favorite examples is this Ne-Maki style Shibori, otherwise known as ring bound Shibori, is traditionally created by binding beads or other small spherical objects with thread. In the example pictured below, I bound the fat quarter very densely with irregular marbles and very small rubber bands. Even though the fat quarter was reduced to the size of my fist, this is a fairly fast technique,  and the results are amazing. (While I love playing in buckets of every color imaginable, I chose to do all of my sampling in traditional Indigo. By keeping it simple, each participant can visualize her own approach to the project.)
As my workshop took shape, and I narrowed the number of styles of Shibori down to a class that gives each participant a diverse and complete experience, I explored techniques known as Itajime, Kumo, Ne-Maki, Karamatsu, Suji, Nui, and several variations of Arashi Shibori. Somewhere along the way, I developed my favorites, and know which styles of Shibori piqued my creative passions. I will definitely continue my personal experimentation in these styles, beyond the scope of the classroom environment, and am grateful the workshop has re-ignited my passion for Shibori. I am excited about the fabrics I envision in my minds eye, and how I will execute them with the tools and techniques I have acquired. Most of all, I can't wait to pass the fun on! I know that at least one person in every workshop will catch the Shibori fever and continue to stitch and bind, fold, clamp, twisting and wrap their way into some beautiful and unique Shibori fabrics.
Ready to sign up?  You can click on the classes tab of our website --  for all the details.  Hope to see you there!