How Do They Do That? Four types of Shibori

There are four main types of shibori seen in this blog:

“itajime”–folded/clamped shibori–cloth is folded, or pleated, into various patterns, then the folded fabric is clamped tight before dyeing.  Early on in its history, wooden blocks were used on the top and bottom of the folded fabric bundle, then clamped and dyed.  Today, various “blocks” in a myriad of shapes, are used before clamping the cloth.  This is my favorite type of shibori, so you are likely to see a whole lot of this type on the blog!

© Brett Barker
© Brett Barker

“kumo”–bound shibori–using thread or string to “tie up” certain parts of cloth.  The parts that are bound by the thread become the “resist” while the rest of the cloth is dyed. You won’t see much kumo on my site as it doesn’t match my personal aesthetic that well.

kumo shibori detail, © Brett Barker
kumo shibori detail, © Brett Barker

“nui”–stitched shibori–here, the resist is created by stitching thread into patterns, some quite intricate. After stitching, the threads are pulled by the ends to wrinkle up the fabric.  The fabric is then dyed, dried, and then the threads are pulled out of the cloth, leaving behind thin, delicate areas of resist.  If a crochet-like hook is used with thread, the method is referred to as “miura” shibori.  As I progress through the history of shibori, I will be creating many of these pieces.

detail, simple miura design, © Brett Barker
detail, simple miura design, © Brett Barker

“arashi”–pole-wrapped shibori–in this technique, a pole is used.  The fabric is wrapped around the pole, then string or thread is wrapped around the cloth.  Finally, the fabric and thread are “scrunched” down to the bottom of the pole before the entire bundle, pole included, is put into a dye bath.  The result is a piece of cloth with a kind of “striped” effect.  Arashi is Japanese for “storm,” the effect tends to look like rain sheeting down out of the sky.  Or like stripes.  Or like a zebra.

Arashi piece on the drying rack, © Brett Barker
Arashi piece on the drying rack, © Brett Barker