Shibori – Books (1)

July 5, 2009


In a couple of months’ time, my local handweaving and spinning guild is having a one-day shibori-on-silk workshop. Now for someone who works ‘dry’, I have no great practical foundation in dyeing and it will be a great chance to re-live a tiny textile tourism experience in the medium I experienced in Kyoto. I’m hoping it may inspire some of my Guild colleagues to pursue shibori experimentation after the workshop.

This book is my touchstone when it comes to images of museum-quality examples of shibori. I also appreciate the six pages devoted to a description of the techniques and photos of the shibori being created, topped off with a four-page summary in English of the history of shibori. The chapter headings are the various geographical areas involved: Tohoku, Nagoya, Kyoto and Kyushu. Almost all involve indigo, except for gromwell purple as used in Tohoku (north Honshu). The emphasis is on kimono and on large-scale patterns: 2,3,4 or 5 large motifs on each front or back of the kimono per fabric width – the standard two widths of standard 12-13″-wide fabric making up the front or back of the garment. Silk in Kyoto, cotton elsewhere.

There are plenty of books (compared to other Japanese textile traditions) about shibori in English. This is somewhat unique in being a photo picture book of museum examples. The books by Yoshiko Wada, by contrast, “build” on the foundation of those held by Japanese museums and explore the practical aspects of creating shibori.

The book is out-of-print and part of a 22-volume series covering Japanese art textiles, especially the government-classified traditions. It may not necessarily be essential reading for a practical shiborist.

Hiroko Ando, Japanese Tie-dyeing. Kyoto, Kyoto Shoin’s Art Library of Japanese Textiles series no.11, 1993. 95 pages. ISBN-4763670468.

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