What is Shibori?

Shibori is an ancient Japanese art of dyeing that uses resistance to create design and pattern.  There are artifacts that date back to 749 AD showing this technique and it is still found today in beautiful kimonos and other items.  It is easily recognizable in the classic indigo blue and white fabrics that abound in boho design.  It is also the father of tie-dye.

I have always loved indigo and white fabrics but I actually first tried shibori because of Annie Sloan's Inspiration page where there are some pillows dyed shibori style with chalk paint.  I first experimented with chalk paint then moved on to dye.

There are many categories of shibori: Itajime uses blocks and other devices to create areas of white within the blue as in this classic pillow.

The black and white pillow with buttons in my shop was dyed using clothes pins.  Or this one, with the circles that were created by tying string around a round object.

Another method is called Arashi in which the cloth is wrapped around a piece of pvc pipe then tied with string and scrunched down on the pipe. 

These napkins are Bomaki technique which is a variation of  Arashi.

This pillow is a combination of 2 techniques:  the top has been stitched with running stitches and gathered and the bottom was bound together with string.


This red and white pillow was created using pleats that are stitched across the top of the folds.  The folds make the the lines and the stitching created the star like design.  This was dyed with Procion Mx dye on white linen.  Procion Mx is a fibre reactive dye that is used on cellulose fibres such as linen, cotton , rayon, hemp etc.  It comes in a huge range of colours.

This is just a small sampling of what can be done with this fascinating craft.  There are many sites that explain how to do simple shibori.  Check out Finding Silver Pennies and her post about it.


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