Archives for posts with tag: japanese textile

We’re starting our Spring Classes series next Tuesday and I couldn’t be more excited. Amongst the wide range of classes that we’re offering, I want to tell you today about the Shibori class.

Shibori, now a universal term, is the Japanese word for manipulating fabric before dyeing (the word is derived from the Japanese root verb shiboru, which means to “wring, squeeze, press”) (…) in Shibori for Textile Artists, by Janice Gunner

(photo courtesy of HonestlyWTF)

The Shibori technique dates back to between 6th and 8th century in Japan (the earliest known example of shibori dyed cloth dates back to the 8th century). Indigo was the main dye used, to pattern hemp, cotton and silk.

(photo courtesy of HonestlyWTF)

There are several folding, binding, twisting, stitching techniques that have been used and all have specific names. Like Kanobo shibori, for the typical  tie-dye, Arashi (Japanese for “storm”) shibori, a pole-wrapping technique, Kumo shibori, pleat and bond resist technique, and Itajime shibori, a shape-resist technique where the cloth is folded like an accordion and sandwiched between two pieces of wood.

Shibori Master Motohiko Katano (1889-1975) (top) and Shibori dyed cloth (bottom)

(photos courtesy of

There are still a few spots available for the Shibori class starting on January 8th, so don’t miss this opportunity to come to TAC to learn the secrets of this ancient dye technique. And as inspiration for the products and fabrics that you can create, I leave you with some gorgeous fashion creations..

Suno Shibori Tie Dye Scarf Jacket, Spring/Summer 2010

(via CoolSpotters)

Shibori dyed top, by Brooklyn based Upstate, Spring/Summer 2011

Shibori dyed scarf, by Brooklyn based Upstate, Spring/Summer 2011

(via HonestlyWTF)

China and Japan have been producing textiles for thousand of years.  China was the first producer of silk, so we can thank them for that.  Japan were one of the first pioneers of the technique Shibori: a method of twisting, binding, stitching, or compressing fabric to create patterns in the fabric when it’s dyed.

Though I think that China and Japan have created some of the most interesting print patterns to date.  Their patterns are deliberate and perfect almost to the point of  being obsessive.

One thing I really like about Chinese/ Japanese fabrics is that they all reference nature in some way.  Their cultures are steeped in high respect for their natural surroundings.

The natural world has long been conceived in Chinese thought as a self-generating, complex arrangement of elements that are continuously changing and interacting.  Chinese philosophy tends to focus on the relationships between the various elements in nature rather than on what makes or controls them. According to Daoist beliefs, man is a crucial component of the natural world and is advised to follow the flow of nature’s rhythms. Daoism also teaches that people should maintain a close relationship with nature for optimal moral and physical health.

<Source:Nature in Chinese Culture | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art>

In Japan the practices of Shinto, a Japanese indigenous spirituality, today refers to the various shrines, festivals, and memorials which serve various purposes.  The belief is that harmony can only be achieved with nature, a fact that is most commonly seen in Japanese flower arranging, architecture, and garden design.

In Chinese textiles there is a lot of dragon imagery.  Dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese folklore and mythology.  They represent strength, good luck, and great power.  (Control over water, rainfall and floods.)  Historically, the dragon also symbolized different ranks of power.  The 3-clawed dragon represented the commoners, the 4-clawed dragon represented the Emperor of China, and the 5-clawed dragon represented the Son of Heaven which was an emperor that was recognized as ruler of “All Under Heaven”.

All the fabrics are lusciously rich in texture, color, and imagery.  A true luxury.