Itajime Madness

Itajime is my favorite kind of shibori.  I’m drawn to abstraction and squares for some reason (see one of my large acrylic paintings below), so I end up doing more and more itajime as time goes on.  I’m also entering the shogun era in my year-long historical shibori investigation and many of the warriors wore itajime-dyed robes under their armor (see Wada et. al., Shibori for more info).

Here’s my latest throw pillow, designed for a prominent interior designer’s firm, The Design Bakery, here in the L.A. area.

itajime pillow june




summer buddha jpg

It’s Reigning Men

If you are in the LA area this summer, I highly recommend attending the “Reigning Men” exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA to locals).  Last week, a fellow artist and I attended a lecture by the AMAZING curator, Sharon Takeda, and afterward were able to get a semi-private tour of the exhibit.  Of course, this plain-weave wool suit caught my eye as it was created via shibori, using both itajime and resist dyeing techniques.  The red coat in the right background was inspired by traditional warrior/shogun attire.

The exhibition explores the history of men’s fashionable dress from the eighteenth century to the present and is arranged thematically instead of chronologically.  Oh and by the way, if you love embroidery, you’ll be in heaven here.

Itajime ensemble by Yusuke Takahashi. sp/s 2014.
Itajime ensemble by Yusuke Takahashi. sp/s 2014.


“Trendy” Shibori

I’m often asked if the shibori “trend” is just beginning, in its full bloom, or is on the decline. Here’s a lighthearted yet spot-on article from apartment therapy regarding trends and how to recognize when they’re officially over. Hint:  can you say “Listerine bottle?”


More New Pieces

Here are some more of the throw pillows I created for my interior design client:

Double arashi-ed piece ready for its second dye immersion.
Previously posted double arashi-ed piece ready for its second dye immersion. ©Brett Barker


Here is the result.
Here is the result.  ©Brett Barker
“Eclipse,” a new throw pillow using favorite itajime technique with circles and squares. ©Brett Barker



Completed Koi Throw Pillow

Here is the result of my first attempt at using Japanese resist paste in my shibori. Fortunately for me, I live five minutes away from a Japanese market, so obtaining the rice bran and other items needed for the paste was quite simple.  If you are going to attempt to make your own resist paste, give yourself some time and patience to “tweak” the recipe.   I used this recipe from John Marshall’s amazing site.

©Brett Barker