Liz and I missed the last meeting. Looks like we missed out on this special moment Jan captured. Duncan is all dressed up in some of Liz’s indigo fabrics that she created in the Shibori Class that she is taking at Pullen Arts Center.
I had the pleasure of taking part in a Master Class at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with Yoshiko Wada. I have used work and books published by Wada as inspiration and technique research in folding and shibori cloth this past year. It was truly inspiring and amazing to learn from such a superstar in the textiles field. Yoshiko said it best when she said that her “workshop is more like empowerment camp.” I loved that.
Hopefully, I can share more with everyone at one of our upcoming Common Fold meetings. Until then enjoy the photos and let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks! Kelly Kye
These are some of the indigo folded and dyed shibori samples that I made during the weekend workshop. I was especially pleased with the sample on the far right. The sample used knife pleats set about 1 inch apart, then folded in half and rolled up tightly with rubber bands and dipped partially in the indigo vat. In the top left corner are a couple of my stitched samples exploring shrinking with silk and linen.
This is Yoshiko helping one of my classmates unwrap a wool scarf off of a pipe. When the fabric is wrapped diagonally on a pole like this it is referred to as arashi shibori. The wool is a special woven fabric that Yoshiko has made in Japan that is meant for fulling (or shrinking the wool fibers). A special paste of sodium alginate (a pure type of seaweed – it’s commonly used to thicken food) is applied to the wool wrapped on the pole and then dried. The dried paste forms a barrier that will not shrink the wool fibers when washed. The idea is that the arashi pattern will show through in shrunk and non-shrunk wool fabric. The sodium alginate washes out with metaphos (a fabric softner). I have a complete set of instructions for this process if anyone is interested.
Yoshiko (on the left) shows us how to cut and fold a tiny paper kimono. Maybe I can share this with the group sometime. I was also happy that Amy Putansu (center) from Haywood Community College was our studio assistant for the weekend. She was so much help and I am sure that Yoshiko was happy to have someone that could keep up with her. Also! Small world… another class member is LM Wood (left), an Associate Professor of Art at Elon University and knows Alan and Susan. It was great being surrounded by inspiring artists!
It was such a lovely weekend in the Smoky Mountains. Arrowmont is nestled right by the crazy strip of downtown Gatlinburg. Once you turn up the driveway you forget all about the fudge shops and touristy retailers. I don’t know that I would consider it a break because of the intensity of Yoshiko and the workshop but it was a nice change of pace and scenery!
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