Thursday, 25 June 2015

White Shadow / Shirokage Shibori

Muriel drops by Japan a few times a year to do research on Japanese textiles. She drops by and stays a few days now and then to use the indigo, drop off some Swiss cheese and chocolate.  I get to see her meticulous shibori work and progress.

White shadow shibori is one of the difficult shape resist techniques. It is tough to get the balance of the shapes and sizes right so the indigo does not bleed in from behind and ruin the perfect white background. She got it perfect on her last masterpiece.

First the pattern was drawn on the cotton and then painstakingly stitched and stitched. (Muriel has done some haute couture embroidery in France and knows what slow progress is all about.)

She used a q-tip to push through all the white parts to the backside. It is then tightly bound to a pipe/pole to resist the back and let only the raised ridges dye.

It is easy to see how long the oxidation of the indigo takes on the first dip as the green is so visible. By the tenth dip you can't see the green turn to blue and have to estimate how long it takes. 

Taken off the pipe the back was white! 

The moment when it comes to open it up.

Washed and dried. Perfect results.

Here are a few more pieces from Muriel this year.

She is searching out indigo in remote corners of Japan and ran across this indigo hottie. He was surprised to see her beautiful work. (Hurray Gaijin!) 


  1. Absolutly amazing!
    Perfect, stunning...... thank you.

  2. lol! gaijin -1 hottie in awe?

  3. Dear Bryan - thank you so much for honouring my Shibori efforts with this beautiful post. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with you, Hiro, Momo, Geiger and all the other amazing people around you. Miss you already (Damian Rice is still in my head and constantly reminds me of you...). Love, Muriel

  4. Dear Bryan - loved the photos of Muriel's work and it's amazing to see how far she has come since she arrived at the farm house last year, not having received the homework package. Absolutely stunning. Gorgeous photo of her too - cheers Jean

  5. Absolutely lovely! Can you tell us where the workshop is that Muriel visited?

  6. Muriel's work is perfectly stunning, what does she use the finished pieces for? love that anxious moment when you first open a dyed bundle - magic!

    1. She wears them. She is a street fashion photographer making all those fashion consumers look bad... She is addicted to things Japanese and learns these techniques to explore the aesthetics and the mentality/spirituality that created them. (Putting words into your mouth Muriel..sorry.)

  7. All of Muriel's pieces are amazing. What a talent - and what patient handwork to make these creations. The exquisite one with the wave pattern is so wide - what fabric did she use that was thin enough to stitch through so many folds?

  8. Hi Heather,
    She used a light cotton material. Almost like a (excuse me) good bed sheet. I think one actually was her grandfather's Swiss bed linen. It was just loose enough to allow the needle to go through. She wore gardening gloves and is patient as a saint with these shiboris.