April 4, June 10


Shibori is an ancestor to contemporary tie-dye. The shibori family of techniques includes numerous resist dye processes practiced throughout the world. Within this exhibit are traditional hand-tied examples from Japan, China, India, and Africa along side examples created by contemporary artists using shibori techniques.

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shibori_samplesRefinements in the design and dye process have been developed and used in Japan since the 8th century. The Japanese are noted for the intricacy of their designs. This exhibit presents an overview of selected processes and the tools used to create traditional and contemporary shibori. Featured are examples of techniques, raw cloth, and finished works. Patterns produced in traditional manipulated resist dyeing are seen in every day items ranging from garments to wrapping paper.

arashiTrue shibori cannot be produced with machinery. It can only be created by hand, utilizing numerous labor intensive processes. Printed versions of shibori patterns, though intricate in design, pale in comparison to the richness of hand-tied fabric.

Rather than treating cloth as a two-dimensional surface, shibori gives cloth three-dimensional texture by folding, crumpling, stitching, plaiting, or plucking and twisting. Cloth shaped by these methods is secured in a number of ways, such as binding and knotting before dyeing. One piece of cloth may use a variety of methods and be dyed many times before it is ready for use as clothing or a household item.

The Shibori Process

Creating the Design:
toolsThe artist first creates a design on long bolts of cloth. When the dyeing process is complete and it is cut into shapes the design continues from one piece to another. The artist has to keep in mind the number of colors and which techniques to use to produce the desired design.

Preparing the Cloth:
The design pattern is stenciled with fugitive (water soluble) ink on the full length of fabric. Using the stenciled outline as a guide, the cloth is stitched, bound, resisted, wrapped or gathered by hand.

The tied cloth takes on three-dimensional characteristics. The process of knotting is very labor intensive. Hand-tying an intricate design may require 12 months to complete enough fabric to make a kimono.

Dyeing the Cloth:
Once the first stage of tying is complete, the cloth is dyed in the lightest color in the pattern. Before dyeing in the next color, the cloth is knotted or stitched again. This process of knotting and dyeing is repeated to create intricate multicolored patterns


itagime_paperShibori Vocabulary

shibori (Japanese) – manipulated resist dyeing

bahandani (Hindi) – manipulated resist dyeing

tritik (Hindi) – stitching design technique

plangi (Hindi) – wrapping technique which produces small spots

kanoko (Japanese) – wrapping technique which produces small spots, referred to as ‘fawn spots’ or ‘fish rows’

itajime – folded cloth that is clamped with shapes

arashi shibori – rolling cloth around a pole, wrapping and rouching










LOCATION: 2nd floor gallery
Curator: Susan Kristoferson & Jerrie Lee Parpart