As a dyer, I work with water, which I feel largely represents who I am. Water is flowing and reflective, adaptive, nurturing and calming. As much as water can be soothing, it can also be unpredictable. The element of surprise is one of the qualities that I appreciate most about Shibori. During this process, I enjoy relinquishing control and allowing the cloth and dye to have a voice of their own. This spontaneity produces an organic and fluid effect that I find captivating.
I am someone with an explorative spirit so this medium is ideal because it allows for ample opportunities for experimentation. At the beginning of my process, I am often inspired by the universal patterns, as well as the colors, found within the natural world. The two patterns found within nature that I am most drawn to are water and wood. I am always mesmerized at how the grain in wood looks identical to ripples in a lake, and I love translating that into textiles. Designs from various cultures and art movements are also significant to my aesthetic. I utilize these elements, along with a non traditional color palette, to influence my designs.
Shibori takes time. It requires care and attention to detail. The repetitive action is meditative and requires patience. Because everything is done by hand, it means that even if a technique is replicated, no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. Because of this uniqueness, it is important for me to preserve this textile tradition by creating artful fabric that can be hung or used as decor in people’s homes, along with creating articles of clothing that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Shibori is an ancient art, originating from Japan. The earliest known piece of cloth dyed using this technique dates all the way back to the 8th Century. Shibori comes from the root word ru, which means “to wring, squeeze or tighten”. In this practice, the once two dimensional fabric is transformed into a three dimensional, sculptural form by binding, wrapping, stitching, twisting or clamping. Once the piece has been tightened, it is then put into the dyebath.
Because each piece has been bound and secured by hand, the end result is always one of a kind. This also means that there is a perpetual element of surprise every time you unwrap your dyed cloth, which is one of the most exciting parts of the process. There are multiple techniques, and understanding which fabrics are more suited for each is a vital part of exploration. Because of all the variables that are involved, there are truly endless amounts of possibilities within this intriguing medium.