Shibori: The New Ikat

ShiboriYou’ve probably seen and just didn’t think it had a name. I had never heard of it either until I had a sales rep come in with a carpet sample with the name. I can see now the resemblance. When I Googled it, I discovered a completely different side of the history and techniques used. Since then, I have fallen in love with this stuff. It’s simply mesmerizing.


1. What is it? Shibori is a form of resist-dying similar to tie-dye. A cloth is tightly bound, wound around an object or sewn and then dyed. The resulting cloth displays a repeating pattern based on the method of binding used.


2. Where is it from? Shibori is a Japanese term derived from the root “Shiboru,” meaning to squeeze, ring or press. Resist-dying however, is an extremely common technique which has existed in many cultures around the world for centuries.

3. What dye is used? The indigo dye which is traditionally used for Shibori has a long global history. Indigo garments which have been found in Egypt date back to 2500 BC. The methods of resist-dyeing and indigo production were introduced to Japan from China in the early 8th century AD. Shibori quickly became popular among the peasant classes as a means of restoring the luster of old clothing.



4. How is it done? There are several methods of Shibori dyeing, each producing a unique type of pattern. Miura is a relatively simple technique, the ease of which in tying and untying the fabric makes it less expensive to produce, while Kumo, the spiderweb pattern requires tightly many parts of the fabric in hornlike shapes to produce the open, weblike patterns. Other methods such as Arashi, Japanese for “storm” requires that cloth be wrapped around a pole or cylinder to produce diagonal patterns from dye that the cloth is immersed in or is applied by brush. And the Itajime method of Shibori uses a series of pleats and folds to reduce a large piece of fabric to a concise triangle or square which is clamped in place prior to dyeing. There are numerous other Shibori techniques each with their own processes and requirements of skill. Each one produces a dazzling textile pattern that can be used for everything from fashion to pillows or even hung as works of art.


Photos Above: Source

5. Where can I find it? There are a number of places where well-made Shibori-inspired design can be found on home accessories such as pillows and bedspread as well as on clothing. Rebecca Atwood and Madewell have some gorgeous Shibori products.

6) Can I make it myself? Of course! There are hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest that you can use. You can also purchase many books, including this one from Amazon.

7) How much does Shibori run for? I found this incredible blog all about Shibori. She actually has a shop that you can purchase the pieces she has made.

I also found some other interesting Shibori inspiration used in home décor.






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