Friday, April 29, 2011


Shibori is a Japanese term for a method used to dye fabric - to tie dye fabric. Shibori is an ancient technique used as early as the Nara period (710-785 AD), which is rumored to have come from India, and then to Japan through China. The basic idea was to create a design that resists dye by tying, folding, sewing, wrapping, etc.

There were many ways to accomplish this, and my purpose of writing about Shibori is not to give a history lesson or a tutorial on how this was done, as there are plenty of books on the subject and dying is not a skill I intend to delve into. My purpose today is simply to share the eye candy that this traditional technique can create.

It is interesting to note, however, that one technique of shibori was banned during the Edo period as being immorally wasteful, for a tier of spending about 30 years tying one garment.

After dying, threads used to tie the garments are carefully removed. This is obviously a delicate process as even a tiny tear could ruin months of work and the entire 12.5 yard bolt of fabric.

The below images were taken from a company that made shibori in a traditional manner, back when I was researching Japanese textiles and clothing about seven years ago. I believe this company was based out of California, but being terrible about such things, I didn't save their information, and can no longer find their website. If you know who they are, I'd love to be re-educated so I could credit them with their gorgeous work. Until then, enjoy the eye candy.