On Friday, I took at class on Shibori dyeing taught by Kitty Uetz, a textile artist who teaches at Xavier University in Cincinnati. I’ve heard good things about the school’s textile art program, and if Uetz is any indication, it’s an excellent school. The workshop, Shibori to Dye For, was a part of “Unbridled Craft,” held at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft on August 15 and 16.

Shibori is basically compressed fiber dyeing. Tie-dyeing is a simplified version of some of the techniques shibori includes. (Don’t tell a shibori artist that his/her fabric is just tie-dye. It is much more, and much more beautiful, and it is rude to dismiss this art form by comparing it to the T-shirts one made in camp.) The techniques are intricate, and time-consuming, and the results are wonderful and unpredictable.

My favorite technique is Arashi, or pole-dyeing. You lay the fabric on a pole, wrap twine around it, and compress the fabric by pushing it toward the end of the pole. Everything from the angle on which the fabric is laid on the pole, to the thickness of the twine, and the distance between each wrap will impact the final result. All the results I saw in class were different, and all were beautiful.

I can see these techniques giving me wonderful, organic designs for quilts, and I think I will be spending quite a lot of time with my hands in dye.

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