Japanese Shibori is general term that encompasses hundreds of ways to manipulate cloth to achieve colorful, artistic designs on cloth. In really simple terms, shibori is an enhanced version of tie dye that has been around for over 750 years.
There are three main types of shibori: arashi shibori (pole-wrapped), nui shibori (sewn) and itajime (folded and clamped).
This post is about itajime shibori (pronounced eeta-gee-may). As you can see in the photo, itajime shibori consists of a multitude of techniques of folding and clamping the cloth in to achieve different affects. Some methods include accordion folding the fabric before clamping it. Others require diagonal folding.
The best way I learn is by doing. So, over time I have used the traditional folding and clamping techniques and have also changed them up a bit to create my own designs. The black itajime shibori amtextiles shawl is an example of a finished itajime design. The designs was achieved by accordion folding the fabric when it was white and undyed. The accordion folds were large (imagine folding up paper for a fan, but bigger). I used rectangular scraps of woods to cover parts of the fabric, then clamped and rubber banded the fabric within the two piece of wood.
Only some parts of the fabric were open to receive dye. Those that were not, remained white while the rest was dyed in varying shades of black and grey (depending on how much exposure that area had to the fabric dye).
Itajime designs are reminiscent of architectural and geometric shapes. There is usually a crispness to the finished design that is different than many other types of fabric dyeing.
I learned most of what I know from a mentor I had in the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh and the books of Yoshiko Wada, a living expert on shibori. In 2005, I was awarded an artist grant to travel to Japan and attend the Shibori Symposium in Tokyo where I met Yoshiko Wada and studied with some of the current living masters of shibori. It was life-changing and is still providing inspiration for me today!
Bonus: here is a really good blog post that visually shows the process of some of the techniques: Kaizenjourneys.