Arashi Shibori

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The cover of Yoshiko Wada’s book “Shibori: Now” displays work by Jan Morris. This book and another book by Wada (Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing) are the most important books on the historical and practical practice of the Japanese creation of shaped-resist patterns on cloth. These books discuss the way fabric can be “tied, clamped, folded, or held back during dyeing, to keep some areas from taking color.”

Jan Morris recently offered a class on Arashi Shibori through Botanical Colors in Seattle. Botanical Colors, owned by Kathy Hattori, sells natural dyes and accessories.

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Hattori invited Morris to run a workshop in the Sunset Hills, Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Jan Morris, in this excellent workshop, taught 12 students the practicalities of making a variety of indigo dye pots, and techniques for different types of Arashi Shibori and Karamatsu Shibori. Working on five hot days, the students learned to wrap fabric on PVA piping in a technically correct manner to produce a variety of designs.

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The way the fabric was wrapped and re-wrapped produced a variety of designs. Fabric samples were dipped in the different indigo dyes, numerous times, unwrapped and washed to unveil magnificent designs.

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The class also learned to tie samples to make Karamatsu Shibori. Incorporated with the Arashi Shibori, beautiful designs were produced by the students.

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Kathy Hattori had prepared large “garbage can” pots of indigo where students could dye their “poles” in groups. Arashi

Apparently Jan Morris will be returning in a few years to teach with Botanical Colors again. The class, in August, was full with a waiting list. There were twelve lucky participants from across the US. An interested student of surface design should get on the Botanical Colors mailing list for this class and others. Meanwhile, the books are a wonderful source of inspiration for the student of shaped-resist dyeing.

Lamerto Vitali on Giorgio Morandi

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Dipinti: Catalogo Generale Volume Primo 1913/1947 and Secondo 1948/1964. Boxed set. Electa. 1994.

When I started ordering books on Morandi, I would send to Italy and take a chance on the quality of the books. I soon learned to order books written by Lamberto Vitali. The quality of the book and reproductions would always prove to be excellent. Now I know that Lamberto Vitali was a contemporary and friend of Morandi. Vitali was also an art critic and very early collector of Morandi’s paintings. He published the definitive Catalogue Raisonne of the 590 paintings of the artist. Volume Primo includes the years 1913/1947 and Volume Secondo, the years 1948/1964. The volumes are housed in a colorful slipcase and published by Electa. The first edition was published in 1977, the second in 1983, and a third in 1994.

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The evocative introductory essay (in Italian) by Vitali “warns” about the logistics of the “system” he uses, in the catalogue, to keep track of the paintings. It is still a system used by scholars to keep track of the work. Morandi only used the title “Landscape” (“Paesaggio”) and “Still-Life” (“Natura Morta”) to title his works so a numbering system became imperative. There is a scaled drawing (beside each numbered black and white reproduction of the painting) showing the work, to scale, against a meter square. Each work is numbered according to the year of creation, where the work was exhibited and in what years, the provenance of the painting and a biography of books that include the work.

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Occasionally there is a large scale, close up, of a painting showing an accurate example of the color and paint-style used by Morandi. For the serious Morandi student or collector of his work/books these volumes are invaluable study guides. Lamberto Vitali has (as associate, life-long friend and accomplished art critic and writer) accurately documented the progression of the work through the years . The few color plates that relate to the black and white examples, show the lushness and spontaneity of the paint. The two volumes are a loving tribute to the friendship of the two men.