Shibori tyeing and stitching with natural dyes

The past month after my return from Vancouver has been a daily pursuit of tackling new skills including Shibori tyeing and stitching with natural dyes.

Since the Natural dyes workshop at Maiwa, with Michel Garcia, I have been working on silk. I have dyed with sumac, acorn, walnut, safflower, goldenrod, cochineal, madder and henna. Most of my work has been dyeing on silk, but soon I will begin to explore other fabrics such as cotton and linen.

For one of my first experiments, I dyed some of my previously airbrushed, silk scarves

My first dye attempt was with safflower dye 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! As someone very new to the process, I learned that THE most important step in dyeing is mordanting the fabric! A mordant attaches the dye to the fabric. Without it, the dye will wash out (unless it’s a substantive dye such as walnut).

Shibori tyeing and stitching with natural dyes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Continuing to experiment with various dyes, mordants and tannins as well as playing around with the three shibori tying and stitching techniques is my current focus.

Over the years, I have worked with shibori on different projects: https://maijazemitis.com/indigo-and-shibori-tunic/

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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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