Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shibori Play

As long as I had the paints out, I decided to follow up on a shibori technique that Margaret Cooter reminded me of on her blog here. However, as you will see, my experiment did not come out looking anything like Margaret's. I started with a 9" width of bleached muslin and placed a mark on each edge every inch along its length. Then I finger-pressed a fold at each set of dots as a guide for the stitching. I used buttonhole thread sturdily knotted at each end and made running stitches about 1/4" long. You gotta admire the Japanese who developed these shibori techniques. This hand stitching takes patience and time.

When all the lines are stitched, the thread is pulled up and tied off.

I had some thinned Setacolor paint left over from another project that I wanted to use up. There was just enough for this. I wet the bundle first, then dabbed the paint on both sides with a foam applicator. It dried overnight.

Before setting it in front of the earth stove to dry, I had a thought - to take this scrap of muslin and blot it on top of the bundle. I was intrigued with the textured pattern that lifted off. Very cool. Margaret got a similar result when she decided to iron her bundle between fabric to speed up drying.

I can't get used to the fact that paint pigment migrates up, not down as it dries. When I flipped the bundle over, I could see that this had happened.

Once dry, remove the thread. I was amused that Margaret had saved her thread, but when doing my own sample, I could see the wisdom in that and saved mine too.

And now you can see how differently my sample turned out. Could it be that I left wider spaces between rows of stitching or that I didn't draw up my gathers as tight? Or maybe mine looks different because it dried naturally. Hard to tell. There is some subtle texturing in the lighter background, but it certainly didn't come out as I'd expected. Remember crinkle cloth? That's what this acts like, all springy as you try to flatten it out.

I pressed it just enough to flatten it out a bit, ready for the next step. Yes, I'm going to take part of this strip and do more to it. The front and back look different, although it is a bit hard to see from this picture. The bottom section is one side - muted, the top section is the other side and has bolder spots where the pigment collected on top of the gathers. We'll see what happens next.


Wil Opio Oguta said...

the thread really needs to be pulled very tight. The best is to pull it tight, wet it and pull tight again. Why did you use diluted Setacolor on wet fabric? In a way it is than twice diluted. With a normal dye mixture you get very good results applying it with a foambrush.

bj parady said...

Ditto the last comment, plus the threads should be knotted together to hold them tight. Why be concerned about saving the threads? I use old hand quilting thread in colors I'll never use for quilting; and anyway thread is cheap compared to your time.
But part of the fun of shibori is not knowing how it will come out--so keep playing.

---nan said...

Sheila: I love the effect your shibori has on the cloth. It reminds me of cuneiform script, in a way. Sort of a "secret code" for your work! Great job! ---nan