In my last texture blog post in July, I was talking about honeycomb.  At the same lecture that I gave at Complex Weavers Seminars on honeycomb, I also showed the results of shibori and seersucker techniques in creating texture in single cloth. 

Shibori is usually associated with tie-dyeing.  There are two fabulous books on Shibori that have been inspirational to many people.  These are : 

1)  “Shibori – the inventive art of Japanese shaped resist dyeing” by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice and Jane Barton.  The book covers tradition, techniques and innovation. ISBN is 978-4-7700-2399-5. 

2)  ” Memory on Cloth – shibori now” by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada.  ISBN is 978-4-7700-2777-1.

I started reading these with interest, but no real thoughts of applying this to my texture research, until I came across some images that showed the resulting fabric in physical textural relief as a result of the shibori process.  Many of the designs created visual dimensionality on the 2D surface, but these few actually showed the 3D potential of shibori.  This piqued my curiosity and I decided to focus on this as a method of obtaining dimensional effects in my fabric. 

I also had “Woven Shibori” by Catharine Ellis, ISBN 978-1-931499-67-5 and decided that using loom-controlled shibori effects were what I was particularly interested in.  The chapter written by Kay Faulkner on warp-controlled shibori got me thinking deeper still, and then I attended a workshop given by Kay in December 2008.  Whilst the focus of the workshop was on the dyeing effects created through the warp shibori technique, several of us were fascinated with the textural possibilities. 

Back at home, I started investigating all the books in greater depth, teasing out the textural applications and then exploring.  These explorations are going to be included in a monograph that should be available in mid-October, but I’d like to share with you a few ideas from my lecture to the Complex Weavers!

There are several ways to create the supplementary warp that is the shibori warp.  You can use a shrinking warp yarn for your shibori ends so that you don’t have to remove them from the warp in order to create the pulling up.  You can also use a thicker yarn such as a 3/2 or 6/2 cotton, so that you can bunch the fabric up easily on your shibori ends in order to create the puckering you want.  Kay Faulkner uses fishing line or monofilament that is very strong and very slippery.  (NB: don’t use a cotton that loses its dye when washed or steamed at hot temperatures!! – How do I know?!!!)

If you are using supplementary wefts for your shibori pull-up, then you can use fishing line/monofilament or strong cotton (crochet cotton does a good job as well) again.  However, I found that wool didn’t work as effectively in the weft.  However, if you tried elastane or Lycra, that might give really good results…. 

For your main warp yarn, use a non-shrinking yarn.  I used 18/3 cotton because I had a lot of it!  But any good cotton, or maybe linen, would give you a great result.  You can also use worsted or superwash wool, if you prefer. 

Next week, I’ll explain how you can create simple ridges and bumps with a few shafts, and some simple wave shapes.