Natural dyes on silk with shibori tying and stitching

Since the Natural dyes workshop at Maiwa, with Michel Garcia, I have been working with natural dyes on silk. I am certainly going in a new direction with my art works.

The past month after my return from Vancouver has been a daily pursuit of tackling new skills, both in Shibori tying and understanding the dyeing process

I have used many different natural dyes including sumac, acorn, walnut, safflower, goldenrod, cochineal, madder and hemp. Most of my work has been with natural dyes on silk, but soon I will begin to explore other fabrics like cotton and linen.

One of my first experiments, using natural dyes on silk, I dyed some of my previously airbrushed, silk scarves

My first dye attempt was with safflower and Kumo Shibori tying. Firstly, I over-dyed an airbrushed scarf, with Goldenrod. The colour was very muted. Most noteworthy, I have realized as I progress, that the question WHY is the most important one for understanding the process and it’s results!

Similarly, I practiced on some cotton fabric using airbrush and acrylic paint. Dyeing the fabric with goldenrod, I then tied it with Kumo shibori technique and dyed it again in goldenrod dye. Afterwards, I airbrushed images of decayed Lotus leaf designs, with acrylic paint onto the cotton.

Decayed Lotus leaves on cotton. Fabric dyed with Goldenrod, then Kumo shibori technique with Goldenrod dye; finished with acrylic airbrush paint

My Shibori focus has been on three types of tying: Kumo, Arashi, and Nui stitching. Each produces remarkably different results.

With Kumo, the end result appears as a rounded square shape with spidery lines inside this shape.

Arashi is tied in such a way that uneven lines appear on the fabric giving the look of rain or a storm.

To achieve this effect, the fabric is tied on a pole or cylinder, in a diagonal fashion. I have been experimenting with tying both horizontally and vertically on the cylinder. Due to the various ways of tying, the dye colour is unevenly distributed. The results are very interesting, as in some cases, I am over-dyeing with 2 or 3 different coloured dyes.

Nui shibori is a stitched technique in which the stitches form the resist to the dye

Of the three shibori techniques, this is the most time-consuming. It requires the fabric to be stitched in repeating rows of running stitches. Upon finishing, the stitches are pulled together and the ends of the threads are knotted. Then, the fabric is immersed and dyed.

Continuing to experiment with various dyes, mordants and tannins as well as playing around with the three shibori tying and stitching techniques is my focus. Along the way, I would also like to incorporate some airbrush with natural dyes, but that will come with time.

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Hi. I'm Maija.

Producer of one of a kind fabrics, I am a Visual/Textile Artist at MaiTribe Studio Gallery, in central Ontario, Canada.

My life and art have been inspired by my travels  to countries such as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Bali and India.

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