More than Tie Dye: the Shibori Technique

the shibori technique

The Shibori Technique

Shibori is a Japanese discipline that dates back to the 8th century. The technique takes a while to master. As a result,  Shibori masters are at least 30 years old with most masters being in their 70s or 80s. To continue, Shibori is a type of resist dyeing. You cannot simply call it tie dye, because different techniques and specific colors are used with this technique. Shibori can be recognized by its beautiful indigo color and only real indigo dye is used to make authentic Shibori items. 

Origin of the Shibori Technique

Shibori comes from the verb ‘shiboru’ which means: “to wring, to squeeze or to press”. This mostly describes what the artisan does to the material once the dye process has been finalized.

Shibori originated as a technique used by the poor. Many people were unable to purchase expensive fabric or couldn’t replace their worn out clothes. Because of this, many poor people would repair and redye their clothes. For the underprivileged, Shibori was a way to make old garments look beautiful and new. Later on, many techniques developed within the art of Shibori. It even became a technique that was applied on more expensive fabric. Eventually it was a popular manner of decorating silk fabric that would be transformed into kimonos for the aristocracy of Japan.

Shibori Technique: The Different Types

As mentioned earlier, there are quite a few Shibori techniques that have emerged since the beginning. And every Shibori technique results in a different pattern that is portrayed on the cloth.

Miura Shibori

Usually, a Shibori master will create a pattern by tying knots around different areas of the textile. However, the Miura Shibori technique uses looped binding. This keeps out less dye, is much cheaper and creates softer effects.

Arashi Shibori

Also known as the ‘storm’ Shibori technique, the master folds and wraps the length of the cloth around a long pole. This creates a variety of dashes and lines that give a storm-like effect.

Kumo Shibori

Also known as the ‘spider web’ Shibori technique, Kumo Shibori requires the maker to pleat the sections of cloth with immense precision. After this, the material is tied in small, adjacent sections. The result is a pattern that is similar to a spider web.

Nui Shibori

The Nui Shibori technique is the only type that requires the maker to sew the pattern onto the material before the dyeing takes place. Therefore, it is also known as the ‘stitched’ Shibori technique.

Make sure to check out our Shibori Collection and find gorgeous items for your home. Or perhaps you want to try a Shibori technique yourself? Then follow this link and give it a try. Please share your Shibori hauls or creations with us! Use #idiscovered or tag us using @dscvrd on Instagram or @discovered on Facebook.