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New Studio and General Shibori Techniques

Not long after I started designing and creating shibori scarf samples in earnest, my husband’s health began to decline. It was most unfortunate that these events coincided as they did, because I felt I had to make the decision to suspend my shibori efforts in favor of taking care of my husband. Now I am happy I made that decision, as he has been gone now for quite a while.

Life takes twists and turns in ways that we do not necessarily see until later. What may seem agonizing at the time, later begins to make sense again.

Now, I fast forward to my brand new Shibori Vortex studio, thanks to much hard work and excellent planning of my boyfriend David Manchester. David has been very supportive of reawakening the shibori dream I kept alive all these years. The studio contains all the elements of a functional, comfortable studio to design and create in…

Interestingly, I didn’t know that at the time Mariano Fortuny was designing, hand pleating, and dyeing his silk Delphos dresses in Italy, in 1907, arashi shibori, also known as storm shibori because of its driving rain stormy patterns, had been thriving in an artistic community in Aramatsu, Japan, even before the turn of the last century in the late 1800’s. In Aramatsu it took two men to lift and turn the 14 foot tapered wooden poles used to create arashi shibori.

In America the technique has undergone several innovations, the most notable being the use of shorter PVC or polypropylene pipe lengths to wrap and scrunch the silk on. Even glass wine bottles have been used by some artists! It is easier for one person to handle the processes this way, and wider lengths of silk can be used. I have experimented with different ways of folding, accordion folding, pleating, basting double pleating, and layering the scarves. Up to this point I have consistently used Procion MX dyes on the scarves. I have used solid colors, mixed two color potions, and layered three colors directly onto the wet and prepared scarves.

Arashi shibori is still in its infancy in America, in my opinion. There is a seemingly endless variety of methods to experiment with. Subtle changes in tyeing or twisting while scrunching can create amazingly different looks in the fabric. The artist can choose to leave in the texture or iron it out and leave only the patterns. One can get sucked into the labyrinth of the Shibori Vortex and the fascination never fades…

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