Category Archives: Shibori

Art Multivitamin: Indigo Dyeing

indigo, natural dyeingThis week’s post has a selection of photos related to indigo dyeing. Indigo is a pretty well-known natural dye with a very long and complex history. It is also one of my favorite things.

Here I am going to share my most recent finds in the world of indigo. The photos in this post are from two books. One is Indigo, In Search of the Color that Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley. The first three pages of images are from this book, which I will admit, I have not read yet…but I am going to read it soon. The photos are a preview…indigo, natural dyeing

indigo, natural dyeing, mali, henna

Click through to the larger image. The woman in the top photo has Some Excellent Bold (probably?) Henna on her palm…I like it

The last three photos are from the encyclopedic book Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice,  and Jane Barton. I will have to share more about this book sometime, because it is really vast and covers the full process of any kind of shibori technique you might want to try. There are also a lot of diagrams, as well as detailed historical information. The three images here are close-up photos of shibori done with indigo…

indigo, natural dyeing, karamatsu, shibori, tie dye, kumoindigo, natural dyeing, shiboriindigo, natural dyeing, shibori

If you want to learn more about indigo and natural dyeing, here are a few interesting sources:

An article from HandEye magazine about an artist who learned the indigo growing and dyeing process in Japan and brought it home to the United States

Here is the blog of an artist working with natural dyes. She posts lots of images of both her own dye experiments and that of students who take her workshops. I love checking her blog periodically. Her photos are amazing and very inspiring!

Finally, I present to you the Turkey Red Journal, focusing on natural dyes, with an article in this month’s issue about the same artist from the HandEye magazine piece. There’s also a story about dyeing with annatto.

Kumo Shibori

sept13shibori 012This image is of a flat crepe silk scarf after it was bound for dyeing. The technique is called kumo, or spiderweb, in Japanese  for the pattern it produces on the fabric after dyeing.  A section of the  fabric if plucked up in a small bundle and then thread is wound around the bundle from the bottom to the top. The fingers are used to hold the gathers in the fabric in place while winding the thread. This scarf was first dyed in a gradation of yellow fading to white before the shibori binding. Then it went into a reddish-pink dyebath…

Indigo dyeing collection: High Tide

indigo02 001A grouping of indigo-dyed scarves waiting to be photographed outside. The first three from the left were created with itajime, a resist process where the design is produced by claming something onto the fabric during dyeing. The next one, pink and blue, is a stitched resist called ori-nui, where the fabric is stitched on a fold and gathered up before dyeing. The last is a yanagi, or willow, shibori, created with pleating and binding with string…

All were dyed with an indigo dye vat. They were dipped twelve times in the indigo to get a dark color. After each dip in the indigo, I leave the fabric to oxidize for 15 minutes. During that time, I have been battling my impatience to see what the resists look like…But I have held out because the ones dipped the most times definitely come out the best…