Itajime Shibori Dying by Ellen Spring

I have been working with shibori techniques for about three years. I really enjoy the physical aspect of manipulating the fabric. I also love the resulting designs that speak to me of the endless variety of pattern and color found in the natural world. I see butterfly wings, autumn grasses, bird feathers and also images of the earth from high in the sky.

The Japanese root for the word shibori means to “wring,squeeze or press”. The word shibori has come to be used to describe any of a variety of textile embellishing techniques that involve folding, scrunching, twisting, stitching, binding,, crumpling or knotting. The cloth is shaped using these methods then it is secured by tying, binding or knotting. After these first two steps dyes are applied either directly or by immersion in one or a series of dye baths. Think “tie dye” and you have grasped the concept!

The technique I have been enjoying is called itajime shibori. This translates as folded and clamped. The fabric is folded in specific patterns and compressed between shaped pieces of wood. Lately I have had fun working with the dye residue left on the wood I use. When this technique is successful several colors can be achieved in one dye bath.

I hope you find as much enjoyment in my work as I have had making it!

Ellen Spring

Ellen's work can been seen on display at Frog Hollow year round. She is one of two Fiber artisans being featured in the front of the gallery for the month of October, 2011.