Thursday, 22 November 2012

Shibori Class Kyoto Japan

Today we went to a Shibori Class at the Kyoto Shibori Craft Centre.

Shibori is a dyeing technique where you running stitch your design onto your piece 
of fabric – ours was silk. Then the stitched threads are pulled up tightly and secured. 
The areas that formed the flowers were gathered up tightly and then we bound up the
‘bubble’ that was created. The stems were just pulled up tightly. This technique is 
called Umbrella Roll or Ita-Shime Shibori.

We used a free standing frame that held our knotted end securely while we pulled each
thread really tight.

Then it was off to the wash and dye process. Wash first to get the marked design out of the fabric and then into the dye pot – ours were in for just five minutes.

Next rinse and dry. Then gently release the threads to reveal your creation. 
Jane and I dyed ours blue and Susie chose a lovely orange.

These are sticks for moving the fabric around n the dye pot.

I think the hardest part was sitting on the floor and concentrating!!!!!

This dyeing technique is the oldest in Japan and sadly the master crafts-people are getting on in years now and there are few younger people following them through. It is such time consuming work that it is no longer financially viable – it takes eighteen months to make one kimono that is completely shibori dyed.  It seems that before long it will be just a museum piece. Once again we have huge respect for the old fabrics and techniques that come out of Japan.
You can find more information on their website:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hi From Japan

As you can tell from the heading above, I am now in Japan - in fact have been here for almost a 
week now. We spent the first two days at the Yokohama Quilt Show which was pretty amazing.
The stalls were as usual incredible and we all had big spend ups on fabric, kimono silks, threads and more. The quilts were amazing - mostly quite modern and in strong colours.

One of the other highlights of our stay in Tokyo was our trip to the Boro Museum. Boro is described as “rags and tatters of the far North of Japan” that have been made clothing and bedding. These amazing textile pieces were made in very poor communities in Aomori Prefecture.

These pieces have been patched and mended with whatever scraps of fabric were
available  and held together with stitching.

Chuzaburo Tanaka put this collection together by walking through the farming and fishing villages of the area in the 1960s collecting and documenting these pieces. They are now housed in the Amuse Museum in Asakusa where we can admire, photograph and 
even touch these pieces – what a treat.

The large piece behind me is long narrow scraps of cotton woven through hemp 
fibres to create a new textile.

We saw more of this style at Tokyo's Blue and White Shop. They had an amazing window display of Boro made recently from old indigo and scrap fabric, so fed our new addiction nicely.

Don't you just love the intense stitching on this piece.

The next post will come from Kyoto as we headed south on the Shinkansen (bullet train) 
after visiting the Blue and White Shop.