Friday, October 3, 2014

Colors of Earth and Sky: Arashi Shibori Techniques with Walnut and Indigo Dyes

Silk gauze has a mystery to it: When you hold the fabric up to the light, it nearly disappears -- but when you wrap it around you, it gains color and adds warmth. Plus, it responds wonderfully to natural dyes.

A few days ago I mordanted a piece of silk gauze in alum and waited overnight to make sure it would take the dye well. Next, I immersed it just once (honest!) in an indigo vat, and again let it sit overnight to oxidize. Finally, I folded it in half lengthwise, wrapped it around a 12" diameter PVC pipe, wound twine around and around and around the pipe, and finally scrunched the fabric down as densely as it could go. The process took a long time and hurt my hands, but that's what you do to achieve the beautiful patterns of arashi shibori.

I see these colors as earth and sky -- and the arashi lines look to me like tree bark or waves on the water. Random but rhythmic and endless intriguing, like the patterns of nature herself.

Here's another photo, showing the shibori pattern a bit better.

It's for sale in my Etsy shop -- or look for it at the Weavers' Guild of Rochester Holiday Show and Sale, coming up in early November!

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