Incredible workshop with Cath lewis today!!! Have built a really good relationship/friendship with Cath.
Studio is fantastic, and offers inspiration everywhere you look. Due to the lack of professional samples produced within my timetabled Print sessions, I thought it judicious to source outside inspiration/study. Having previously worked with Cath, I wanted to create a body of samples that would allow me the choice of easily selecting 6 of the best.
Preparation for the workshop involved me transporting a range of papers, fabrics and source material to work from/be inspired by. Luckily, as a hoarder of anything/everything material/paper based, the preparation felt extremely organic. What a fantastic opportunity to utilise two books I had been gifted on Shiboiri; TIE & DYE by Anne Maile and SHIBORI: DESIGNS & TECHNIQUES by Mandy Southan.
First things first, an Indigo and Natural Walnut Dye Bath were prepared and heated up to optimum temperature.
Whilst reading through the two aforementioned books, and using them to attempt new, tried & tested, and fantastical ways to create patterns in cloth, I chose to experiment firstly with Arashi Shobori.
(Left) Silk. Simple process of wrapping and ruching fabric over a plastic pipe with continuous cotton twine or string motion. (Right) Very similar process, but pleated the fabric on the horizontal as well as wrapping/ruching on the vertical. Mixed results on both samples, but feel that if I hone this technique I will get the crisp, sharp and vibrant qualities I have strove for.
Could I use parts of the Arashi Shibori to create other designs? Could i use a mirror technique to create perfectly symmetrical images? Would this allow me to construct incredibly new beautiful and structural repeat patterns? Instead of the translation of design from paper to fabric, I could flip the idea and use fabric as inspiration to create dazzling paper and stitch designs.
Manipulating fabric via heat; influenced from the Friday Print workshop, where we explored the possibilities of manmade fabrics (synthetics) vs heat. Used the Arashi technique on synthetic Organza and love the final effect!! This experiment has given a great idea; adhere to a prepared cotton background and free machine stitching over the Organza in a range of different quality threads. Could I then use a heat gun to remove areas to resemble patterns within tree bark?
(Above) Silk organza Shibori. Folded and clamped with direct dyeing using fold to create a triangular pattern. Organza was not dampened/soaked before dyeing; can still see some of the triangle ‘pips’ within each larger triangle. Edges outside the clamp were coloured by hand with Indigo and left for 15 minutes. Photo here does not do the piece justice. Maybe it’s time to invest in a couple of professional lights, and utilise my camera to create fantastic images to upload on here.
The reason that organza has the texture that it does? It contains Sericin, which is the protein produced by the silk work. To obtain the silky and soft texture most associated with Silk, the organza silk needs to be degummed: https://www.textiletoday.com.bd/silk-and-its-degumming-process/
Could I also play around with the process of wetting cloth? What would happen to the dyeing process/result if I wetted the fabrics, but left them for a specific amount of time? This is definitely something to explore.
Using Nori and Manutex as resist. I wanted to try other materials to create resist, rather than continually repeating the same processes over and over again. (Left) Wool. Nori paste was applied with brush over spectrum and submerged within Indigo for 5-10 minutes, with an additional 5 minutes on the bottom piece of fabric to create gradation. (Right) Cotton. Manatex applied to surface of fabric via applicator bottle (fine hole) and left to dry before submerging in Indigo Dye Bath. Both dried over radiator, hence why there are lines on the (right) image. Oops, my bad.
One of my favourite aspects of Shibori has to be the tactile nature of touching and manipulating fabric. Creating something with your own two hands makes me feel alive; it gives me purpose, after all what is life without purpose?
Silk & Cotton. Folding and clamping by submersion and direct dyeing. Also incorporating masking fluid as an additional resist; continuation of my desire to convey the context of pattern within pattern.
Silk.Pole wrapping, binding and pleating. Followed process/technique from the book by Mandy Southan, and for my first attempt I think it’s not half bad. Unfortunately, the fabric was not submerged within water first, which made the overall dye result a little uneven; this will be remedied on my next attempt. As it happens, Cath has allowed me to make use of her studio and facilities when she has no need for them!! This means that I can practice, practice and practice. It is my main objective to become a master within my own field, and Shibori is one of many techniques that I intend to master.
Raw Silk. Using Rope Tying: Trellis Effect (Tie & Dye book by Anne Maille) to create this (above) piece. Unfortunately, the end result looked very little like it was supposed to. I was rather meticulous to follow the design instructions, even using a ruler and iron!! Obviously something went wrong, but the good news is I know what went wrong; whilst binding the cloth, I became aware that the cloth on either side of the binding looked uneven and different to the image contained the book. How did this happen? Was the fabric suitable for this type of binding? Anne does inform the practitioner to use cotton or silk, but does not extend any further advice. This seems to be an area in which I will need to explore by myself.
Will definitely be using this as one of my 6 Print/Dye Samples.