Friday, July 4, 2014

Shirokage

You might recall that back in May, I tied two fat quarters with ori nui stitches in a grid and then pulled the stitches up tight:



I decided I would dye one piece as is, while I would try shirokage (white shadow) shibori with the other.  With shirokage, the fabric is tied to a pipe or rope in order to provide a resist, so that the ridge created by the pulled stitches gets most of the dye, while the background remains lightly colored.  I tied one of the stitched and cinched up fabrics to a doubled-up rope, and then I put both fabrics through six rounds in the indigo vat.

The results make for a fascinating comparison:



The first fabric, which went straight into the vat, is perfectly nice and beautifully colored, but it's not nearly as dramatic or striking as the shirokage piece, at least to my eyes.  Isn't it fascinating how two identically prepared fabrics can turn out so differently?

More recently, I tied another ori nui piece with a pattern of interlaced lines.  Unfortunately, I don't have a good close-up from before the fabric went into the vat, but it's the one at the bottom of the pile in my June 24 blog entry.  I tried shirokage with that FQ as well, and it's my favorite from last week's dyeing session:


I used Kaufman Essex linen (55% linen, 45% cotton) PFD for this sample, and I love the extra visual texture that the linen provides.  It's almost like the canvas of a painting.  In fact, I hate to contemplate cutting this fabric up for a quilt--it's tempting to stretch it onto a frame and hang it without any further ado.  Or maybe it will become the center of a medallion quilt?



I've since read up on the details of the shirokage technique in Wada et al., Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing.  It's possible to produce a much whiter background, by lining the back of the tied fabric with cotton wadding (e.g., quilt batting!) before tying it to the resist, and also filling in the holes on the front side with wadding.  Now I know what to try next time!

Happy Fourth of July!  Hope there's plenty of sewing, quilting, and fabric dyeing out there south of the border, in between the barbecuing, World Cup matches, and fireworks!

6 comments:

  1. I love that interlaced design piece, but they have all turned out so beautifully - you should teach a workshop!

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  2. So interesting! Maybe next time you can take a photo of the piece tied to the rope as well - I have a hard time imagining how that gives the desired effect. But the difference is certainly dramatic!

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    1. Monica, I just posted a more extensive account of shirokage dyeing, with a lot more photos. Check out my August 7 entry, if you're interested!

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  3. Wonderful! It seems you're really enjoying your adventures with indigo dyeing.

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  4. Beautiful work - they've really turned out well!

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    1. Thanks, Kim, and everyone else! I have plans for a little more shirokage in my next round of dyeing, and I'll try to take a decent range of photos of the actual process. Although it's time-consuming, I really, really love this technique!

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