Arashi, “storm” is the name the Japanese have given patterns resist-dyed by an ingenious process of wrapping cloth around a pole, compressing it into folds, and dyeing it. Indeed, many of the diagonal patterns suggest rain driven by a strong wind. The particualr quality and subtlety of the patterns are by no means haphazardly achieved, but not even the most skillful worker has complete control over the process, making slight irregularities of pattern inevitable. To be sure, if complete control were possible, results could hardly be called arashi, for it is precisely the irregularities, like those in the changing patterns of wind-driven rain, that give those fabrics their special beauty. YOSHIKO WADA, SHIBORI The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing
One of the most striking patterns that I was able to come up with from my shibori samples was this arashi sample made earlier this year. I used cotton broad cloth and cotton twine to wrap the plastic cylinder. Using a foam brush, I liberally painted MX Procion NAVY 3% stock solution, with an even amount of sodium alginate dye thickener, on to the tightly wound cloth. The cloth was wrapped with plastic to batch for about 2 hours. The fun part was unwinding the twine and cloth to reveal the pattern. I then washed and dried the cloth as usual using fiber reactive dyes. Check out the steps in the photos below.
This technique is a beautiful way to capture the memory of small irregular folds. I chose it to post on the blog but I have many, many more samples that I have made using Yoshiko Wada’s book, SHIBORI, as my own little workbook the past semester. PHOTO CREDIT: LIZ KELLY