Preparing the Fabric

Before we began the dyeing process, we prepared our fabric by replicating several different types of shibori folding techniques. There are six traditional types of shibori techniques. We executed three of them and they include: kanoko, itajime, and arashi. We used cloths and t-shirts made of cotton because natural dyes take to organic fabrics and yarn better than synthetic fabrics.

Kanoko is the first shibori technique we carried out and is most similar to western tie dyeing. Kanoko shibori uses elastic bands to tie the fabric as opposed to string.

Itajime shibori uses wooden shapes as the resist to create bold, geometric patterns. During our dyeing process, we used square wooden blocks and popsicle sticks.

Lastly, arashi shibori is one of the most unique techniques and can be referred to as pole wrapping shibori. This technique requires wooden or copper poles to twist, wrap and bind the fabric that is then secured with elastic bands and string. To replicate this process, we used a wooden one inch dowel and wrapped the fabric around the dowel. String was tightly wrapped around the fabric and then squeezed together. The ends of the fabric were secured with elastic bands. Both the string and elastic bands served as our resist.

We also experimented with three different folding and binding techniques to create various patterns: the accordion fold, the triangle fold, and the square fold. The accordion fold is a simple back and forth fold that can be started from the sides or corners of the fabric. The triangle fold is started by flipping one corner of the fabric into a triangular shape, then folding it underneath itself. The square fold is similar to the accordion fold, but rather than creating longer, thinner pleats, each fold is in the shape of a square.

We also used our own creativity to produce folds and ties using the materials that we had on hand. The way the fabric is folded and binded determines the kinds of patterns that are created.