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Fresh Take On An Old Shibori Tradition

DIY Shibori Curtains

I have always had a soft spot for textile design. Printmaking was my focus in undergrad and fiber was a close second. They are like a match made in heaven. I took notes from my garden on this one. The garden is a true place of inspiration. The patterns, color, and design that is found in nature is mind blowing. I often photograph leaves and plants because I can't not capture their design. Marc Chagall wrote "Great Art Picks Up Where Nature Ends." Shibori is a very old method of surface design. It is a dye resist method to create design. The earliest known example of cloth dyed with a shibori technique dates from the 8th century. There are many different ways to bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress the fabric. I went with 2 of the methods; folding and compressing.

To begin, make sure you have an all natural fabric. The fabric will need to be wet before it goes into your dye bath. - All natural fabric. (I purchased ready to hang curtains) -wood clamps -rubber bands -circular saw -safety glasses -wood or masonite scraps -pencil -ruler -Rit dye -salt -water as hot as the fabric can withstand -5 gallon bucket -table top -2 large commercial stock pot

The way in which you fold the fabric is key to how your design will turn out. I folded the fabric in half salvage to salvage (or top of the curtain to the bottom of curtain). Then half again. And again. I wanted to create a square. Once I had a square I could make the desired triangle.

I used my circular saw to cut a triangle slightly smaller that the folded fabric triangle I made. When using a big power tool like this you must use basic safety. Clamp your board really well and wear the dreaded safety glasses.

If this is not your cup of tea, have a professional cut your your wood scraps!

After I folded the fabric into tidy triangles, I bound it with thick rubber bands. Next, I soaked the fabric in water. Make sure that is soaked all the way through.

I removed the rubber bands, sandwiched the fabric between the 2 blocks of wood and bound the whole thing with rubber bands.

I followed the directions on the Rit Dye. We boiled water in 2 large commercial pots. Poured the hot water, salt, and dye into the 5 gallon bucket.

I put as much of the fabric bundle under the dye bath as possible. I rotated it every 5 mins or so, making sure the dye was applied evenly.

I soaked the fabric in the dye bath for a total of 20 mins.

Repeat for the second bundle. Take care to work quickly as the heat is fast escaping your dye bath.

Pulling fabric out of the dye bath is the best! It is so satisfying, unfolding each fold to see what magic 100% why makers make.

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