Natural Shibori

July 13, 2009

Eco-Color Files Creating Art from Local Natural Resources

Shibori is an incredible technique for creating patterns on fabric, through folding, wrapping, tying, and even stitching. Its origins began some time ago, in 8th century Japan. My class adopted this ancient tradition, and added their own modern variations. They began their shibori process with a silk scarf, marbles, rubber bands, and tongue depressors. The girls harvested their dyes from the surrounding area. Carefully pruning back toyon, sticky monkey, sage, and coyote brush for their dye pots. After an hour of immersion in the dye vat, the girls pulled out their silk, and hand-painted parts of the silk with ‘bug juice’ – cochineal extract, and logwood extract (from wood shavings).


Here is the immersion dyeing taking place. Into the Toyon vat, the silk goes with it’s tongue depressors firmly attached.


And the outcome? Wrinkled and Gorgeous.


And another proud artist.


And the marble queen unveils her hard work. At the end of the week, we had an eco-fashion show. I was so busy narrating, I have no pictures of the incredible event! The show illuminated nature’s aesthetic, while providing an incredible amount of joy for the students. The girls had harvested, designed, spun and woven so many fiber pieces throughout the week, they were jaw-dropping in their ecological colors, and proud smiles. One seven year old student came up to me at the end, and let me know, that she will carry this memory forever. Those are the moments that make all the teaching work so worth it. I am currently for the first time creating silk shibori dye kits, so the fun can continue beyond my classes. If you want to make a scarf with the help of an assistant, and ready to go dye vats, and you happen to live locally. Come to our benefit natural-dye shibori class on Aug. 1st at Sustainable Fairfax. (see more details on the ‘dye workshops’ page).  If you’re interested in either of these offers, just drop me a comment, and I’ll be in touch! Have a thought or story to share about you’re own process or natural dye passion, I’d love to hear from you.

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