The shibori print: ancestral and trendy dyeing

Coming straight from Japan, “shibori” is an ancestral dye that dates back to the 7th century. For centuries, it has not ceased to perpetuate and even upset the world of decoration. Today, this ancestral Japanese dye is on the rise because it has everything to seduce those who are not very sensitive to decoration.

The art of shibori: what does it consist of?

Concretely, the term “shibori” comes from the Japanese term “shiboru” which means “pressing” or “twisting”. Of course, this ancestral technique is of Japanese origin dating from the 7th century. Although shibori was once present in India and China, it is in the land of the Rising Sun that it has been perpetuated and has become a true art. At the time, it adorned the luxurious kimonos of the Edo period as well as the splendid attire of the Samurai. Traditionally, the famous shibori uses indigo on silk, cotton or hemp. Note that shibori prints are made by sewing, tying, folding, compressing or twisting fabrics before they are dipped in a dye bath. In this way, the dye does not impregnate the fabric evenly. On the other hand, shibori is also known as “knotweed” or “tie & dye” because it is limited to a single colour and highlights all possible shades.

What about the techniques used to practice the art of shibori?

Shibori techniques are generally classified into 3 distinct categories: folding, sewing and knots. However, for it to be real shibori, only indigo should be used although other colours are nowadays allowed. It should be noted that this organic dye is one of the old plant dyes most often used for dyeing fabrics. As far as fabrics are concerned, only those made of natural fibres and which have not undergone any treatment are suitable for practicing this Japanese art. Artificial and synthetic materials are therefore to be banned. Among the different techniques most used to practice shibori are kanoko shibori, miura shibori, itajime shibori, arashi shibori, etc.

How to integrate harmoniously into the decoration

Knowing that this ancestral art highlights all shades of white and blue, the print can easily blend into the decor. In order to give cachet to the decoration, it may as well marry it with sober and neutral colours such as linen, white, taupe… while avoiding accumulation. Depending on the material chosen, the shibori print can evoke the seaside (shells, driftwood, planks…) or Californian style decoration (green plants, Berber weavings, metals…).

Those who advocate DIY are well advised to let themselves be tempted by the art of shibori. However, it requires perseverance and patience to master all the techniques. Once these techniques have been acquired, one will certainly not be able to stop.

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