Shibori at Bryan Whitehead’s Farm Japan

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Stitching techniques for shibori, we learned, could be very labor intensive. Bryan Whitehead gave us “homework” that involved extensive stitching to create designs. We also learned to fold and stitch to create repetitive patterns. We used a post card book to look at possible folding and stitch patterns and, then, tried to recreate these design.


The post card book was of Arimatsu designs and I picked up a few copies at the Craft Museum in Tokyo.

The patterning provided a surprise for the novice and I found it to be a fun part of shibori surface design work.

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Arimatsu Shibori is a comprehensive book showing the results of different stitching patterns. There are beautiful plates of shaped resist dyeing samples in this 153 page book, printed in Japan in 2008. An essay by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada expains the world history of shibori and discusses contemporary fiber artists at the forefront of this process.

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Both these books provide a glimpse into the possibilities of stitching for Indigo (or other) dyes.

The Complete Japanese Tie-Dyeing

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Spending 10 days at a workshop at Bryan Whitehead’s farmhouse outside Tokyo, Japan, I learned some basics of indigo dyeing and surface design techniques. I was particularly interested in the books that Bryan used for reference in learning patterning techniques. One day this book was sitting on his work table and I could hardly wait to obtain a copy.


If you can’t go to Tokyo soon, here is one of the best books on tie dying, indigo techniques. The book gives examples/directions for most indigo related surface design work. The book is divided into sections: Close-Wound Binding, Stitch Techniques, Techniques Using a Binding Stand, Techniques Using the Right-Angle Hook, Bound Dots, Techniques Using the Folked Bamboo Stand, Pole-Wrapping Techniques, Innovative Dyeing Techniques, Special Techniques.

page from jp tie-dye

The Complete Japanese Tie-Dyeing (Shiborizome Taizen) by Hiroko Ando is a Japanese publication. Even though the text is in Japanese there are photographs that show each step of the dyeing process and a picture of the results. This is not a small book. The book is 270 pages of techniques for tying, sewing, wrapping cloth for indigo dyeing. I have heard it referred to as the “Bible for Shibori”.

More of the books recommended, during this workshop, by Bryan will follow from this post.