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the way of shibori

Posted on Sep 12, 2010 by in natural dyes, shibori | 6 comments

During a natural dyes workshop taught by Rebecca Burgess this spring, we experimented with some very basic shibori techniques. Shibori being “the Japanese word for a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing,” according to the definition found in a beautiful and comprehensive book called “Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing.”

At the time I hadn’t yet seen the book I refer to above, and I was eager to learn more, so I googled “shibori workshop san francisco” and came up with the perfect workshop taught by shibori expert Ana Lisa Hedstrom, and held at a delightful place called the Sewing Workshop in San Francisco.

pieces of an old set of Japanese shibori samples

We spent two days learning a variety of shibori techniques, including arashi (pole-wrapping), stitching, tying and clamping. The dyes we used were indigo and madder. I was so engrossed in the learning process that I took very few photos at the workshop.

student experiments in shibori

In the photo above, several student pieces are drying after being removed from the dye bath. Most of the pieces in the photo are arashi shibori, a technique where the fabric is wrapped around a pole, secured with string, then twisted and scrunched before being immersed in the dye bath. The flowered piece in the foreground was done by folding and clamping the fabric.

kimono with clamped shibori design from Japan

One of the students brought in several pieces of shibori that she purchased while visiting Japan. Among her samples was this kimono, a stunning example of a design created by clamping the fabric before dying it.

I was able to try a number of techniques during the class. My samples are shown in the photo below, as they hang to dry. The techniques I used are arashi (pole-wrapped), ori-nui (hand stitched), kumo (tied), karamatsu (hand stitched), machine stitched, and board clamped.

my first experiments in shibori

detail of my first experiment in stitched shibori

More to come about my further experiments with shibori.


  1. I was just now searching for about this when I came by your post. Iā€™m simply visiting to say that I very much liked seeing this post.

    • Thanks!

  2. love the old sample pages.

    • Yes, me too!

  3. I really like your work. Really inspiring. I also worked on clamps and shibori.
    I would like to suggest you, try playing with colors since you’re so good at handling this technique. šŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Shiza. I am a beginner at shibori and clamps, but I would like to spend more time experimenting with the techniques, and with more colors too.


  1. day of indigo - [...] (Who knew?) I demonstrated arashi (pole wrapping) and stitched shibori methods that I learned in Ana Lisa Hedstrom’s class…