One of the pre-symposium workshops I did last November at 10iss was a folding workshop with Ana Lisa Hedstrom. I signed up mainly because she was covering katano shibori, but I came away with many more ideas and inspiration.
Katano shibori, named after Motohiko Katano, is a process of stitching through several layers of fabric and not pulling the thread up afterwards. Instead, the lines of stitching channel the dye, producing softer marks that look as if they are airbrushed. There is a more detailed explanation of the technique in Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Wada, along with some stunning examples. The World Shibori Network sells some sets of Katano postcards. Ana Lisa brought some lovely samples with her.
I had a go at katano shibori a few months ago but it didn’t go very well and I wasn’t very happy with the result. Partly this was because I tried to pull all the threads up. I also found it very difficult to stitch through so many layers of fabric.
Here’s the piece I tried by myself, on cotton dyed with indigo:
And here’s the piece I did in the workshop, on silk noil dyed with cochineal and then overdyed with indigo:
All the dyes used in the workshop were natural – we ground our own cochineal, and the indigo vat was made using limestone and local fruit, so smelled lovely!
One of the other techniques we explored was machine stitch shibori. This was a bit challenging because we had only one sewing machine among 16 participants, but with patience and a rota we all managed a go. As with katano shibori, you stitch through several layers of fabric at the same time.
Ana Lisa had brought plenty of samples that inspired us, especially where more than one colour was used.
This was my first attempt, dyed with cochineal. The stitch lines are not very obvious in real life, and are barely visible in the photo.
This was a better attempt on a wool and silk scarf, dyed with cochineal and then indigo. Red cabbage anyone? 🙂
We also used the sewing machine to stitch pleats in different directions before dyeing – this is the result of mine after dyeing in indigo and unpicking.
Just as an experiment I tried stitching through similar folds by hand. The result on some fine habotai silk was very subtle – with more folds or a thicker fabric the marks might have been more obvious.
And this was one of the main points of the workshop – know your fabric! Ana Lisa was very keen to emphasise the importance of learning how different fabrics behave and knowing which one to use for which technique.
We also did some traditional itajime, or clamping, shibori, but this was limited compared with the specialist itajime shibori workshop with Elsa Chartin going on next door. ESP, who also attended the symposium (having never done any shibori or dyeing before!) gamely attended this and produced some very impressive samples using vat dyes. He even dyed a T-shirt (which he hasn’t worn yet!). 😉
Ana Lisa Hedstrom is a great teacher. If you can’t get to any of her workshops, she also sells DVDs on itajime, stitch and arashi shibori.