Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Ghosts of Shibori Past

Ogata san needed some extra attention yesterday. Last week she sat quietly doing some stitching and the silent wheel gets no grease. She mumbled something about being left out as I drove her home. My heart broke. So I dug out plenty of things to make her happy and keep her busy. Challenged just enough to make her complain a little...
I dug out this old tied 14 meter long cotton kimono cloth from 18 years ago. It sat upstairs in a box all this time never dyed.

I used to spend a lot of time in Yogyakarta on Java in Indonesia many years back. Friday night flights to Bali.... good old days. I studied batik and had some local village girls do shibori for me. I designed the pattern and they would stitch and tie it up for me. I tried a lot of techniques and patterns and still have a dozen of these types that never made it into the indigo vat. The stitching was terrible. The tying was sloppy. And the design was pretty dumb. But it was a start into the world of shibori.
Ogata san dyed it up and will enjoy having a few tenugui towels to wipe away the sweat from these sweltering days. We looked through the old Shibori book to find inspiration for a pattern and technique. We found this one. 
I drew it out on some crisp linen with aobana disappearing ink and she started to stitch it up. It will be ready to dye next Tuesday.


  1. i love the photo of ogata san taking out hundreds of knots; indeed the squeaky wheel! actually, your words about her hurt struck deeply, how often i have unpurposely hurt someone, often one i love.

  2. What a work of infinite patience. Ogata san is an example for me who is always in a hurry, or can not wait to finish a piece.
    How will you 'close' the petals so that the dye doesn't get in? I can not figure out, more stitching perhaps?
    Say hallo to Ogata san from the lady who gave her the owl.

    1. Hi Blandina, I will post on how it is drawn up and tied then dyed.I will say hello to her on Tuesday for you!

  3. onesmallstitch20 July 2012 at 02:45

    Ogata-san is an inspiration - Wonderwoman! can't wait to see this finished shibori. has she always done shibori or only since she started coming to the workshop?

    1. Hi Jean, She wove kimono for her family and done sashiko but no shibori she says...
      And thank you for the book that arrived this afternoon. I am already on Chapter five as I had to go to Tokyo and I read it on the train going and coming. Yes, I know why you love it. Really fascinating. Really really fascinating. And Utamaro is in there too! Thank you. Bryan