Shibori is a Japanese technique of creating designs in dyed fabric. It is a dye-resist technique, using items that bind the fabric to create areas where the dye will not penetrate. Depending on the materials used and how the fabric is bound, the dyed designs vary from random splashes of color to highly symmetrical patterns. There are several different styles of this technique that are identified by the particular resist method used.
The arashi shibori technique creates a diagonal pattern of color. The cloth is folded or twisted before being wrapped around a pole. After being wrapped around the pole, the cloth is compressed from end to end, scrunching the fabric along the pole. String is wound around the fabric to hold it in place while it is dyed. The resulting pattern often resembles lightning or rain.
Kanoko shibori involves gathering the cloth in sections and tying the sections with string or rubber bands. This dying technique is also known as tie-dye. The pattern is varied by gathering different amounts of cloth into sections and by changing the tension used to secure the sections. The dye absorbs into the fabric in a starburst style.
Yet another technique, in kumo shibori a person wraps sections of cloth around objects before the cloth is dyed. The cloth is wrapped around hard items, such as rocks or stones, and secured with string. This dye technique makes a spiderlike design in the cloth.
Creating color patters by using compression is how itasime shibori works. The fabric is folded into pleats and then placed between two pieces of wood. String is wrapped around the assembly to secure the fabric and hold it in place. The design is varied by taking smaller or larger pleats and by binding the assembly tightly or loosely.
Nui shibori uses stitching to create intricately dyed patterns. A design is first stitched into the fabric. The stitched threads are then pulled very tight to provide as much dye resist as possible. The stitching is removed after the fabric has been dyed and dried, revealing a pattern of undyed fabric. This technique allows for highly specialized designs, but it is very labor intensive.
There are many other shibori techniques, including oboshi, miura, and suji. The techniques use different methods and produce designs specific to that style of dyeing. The method used is often determined by the cloth. Stiffer, heavier fabrics are better suited to the folding itasime method, while fine, gauzy fabrics perform well with the arashi method.