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Japanese Shibori – Helen Swan

October 25, 2021

Guild meeting last Thursday:

Helen S. led an evening on Kyo-kanoko Shibori using materials purchased from the Shibori Museum in Kyoto which she visited in 2018.

Firstly she showed some textile pictures from museums along the Trans-Siberian route from Moscow to Vladivostok, then continued with pictures from Kyoto including the Nishijin Textile centre and a kimono exhibition that was being held at Nijo Castle at the time she was staying there. 

Shibori has many different styles based on how the knots are tied and how the dyeing is done. In Kyoto they specialise in shibori on silk. Previously shibori in Kyoto was done on kimono decoration only and sometimes table decorations, however as fashion has changed and most people don’t wear kimonos every day then the shibori craftspeople have extended into scarves, umbrellas, bags. Now even the waste yarn from the process is being turned into fabric pictures. It takes 11 years to master the art and learning to tie the knots can start in kindergarten. They are very proud of the cooperation between the craftspeople that it takes to produce shibori fabric. The designer creates the design, which is transferred to the cloth and then bound, then dyed, then unbound and steamed before being made into a garment. Each step is done by a different artisan. 

We watched a video that showed the hon hitta shibori, hari hitta shibori, and nine other types! A fascinating glimpse into the craft, and provided some ideas for future guild workshops.”

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