Thursday, 7 April 2011

Shibori Madness

I have been going mad with shibori at the moment, experimenting with using different sized marbles, folding, securing with elastic bands and all kinds of things! For those who have no idea what shibori is, it is a Japanese term for dyeing cloth, sort of like tie-dye, using various different methods of stitching, twisting, binding etc...(click here for the Wikipedia definition).
I initially had it explained to me as a term used for any materials that are textured through the use of steam so that is what I think shibori is, but I reckon that is slightly different- if you know more then please leave a comment. :D
So I thought I would show you some before and after pictures just so you get kind of an idea of the things you can do with shibori and marbles etc.

I pre-dyed this organza, but didn't fix the colour as I was interested to see if it would run when steamed, then secured marbles into it at random points. The tighter you secure under the marbles, the more successful your end piece will be.

Then after steaming for about five minutes (the longest part is actually putting the marbles in!! It's all in the preparation) I let the organza dry and removed the marbles. The colour didn't really run in this sample although did shift around a bit, and some areas are now darker than they were before.

This one I pleated then wrapped elastic bands round to get a sort of double whammy- as I would end up with the pleats being fixed and also the tension of the bands.

When stretched out, this actually has really interesting zig-zag patterns in it from the elastic bands. Imagine if this was a really big piece, all pleated and beautiful!

This one began as two layers of organza, one yellow and one pink (yellow on the top which is what gives it the slightly peachy colour) with big marbles!!

The colour ran quite epically so that in the end only the edges of the top piece of organza was very slightly tinged with yellow, and on the top of the bubbles- where it was touching the bottom of the steamer- the colour has been steamed right out!! In this image I have stuffed the bubbles with tissue to bulk them out a bit and add a different texture.

Having experimented and deciding what I liked and what worked well, I decided to go for a big piece! Taking a 3 metre length of pre dyed organza, I secured different sized marbles and also scrunched and secured other areas to see if that would give a different texture. It didn't feel hot enough after five minutes in the steamer so I gave it another five until it was boiling hot and I burnt myself trying to pick it out (use tongs!!!). Then after it had cooled down I took out the hundreds of marbles and was left with this...

...which didn't really look that special, and the bits that I had scrunched weren't textured enough for me so I started stitching into it, adding pleats and little circles and just generally going mad with the sewing machine, until I ended up with....


...which actually is really exciting and tactile and people can't help but touch it when they walk past my desk which was the effect I was going for so that's fantastic!!!

Incidentally, I have come across quite an interesting shibori artist called Michelle Griffiths who has done the most amazing things and is well worth a look at!

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