Sunday, January 4, 2009

Shibori wealth


Last year on Amazon.com I came across a DVD titled Arimatsu-Narumi Shibori, Celebrating 400 Years of Japanese Artisan Design. I had to wait until Christmas for this gift, and only just now opened it. My goodness, what a treat! My favorite class in recent years was in how to do arashi (pole wrapped) shibori. For years I have promised myself that I will take the time to hand-stitch some fabric in the other ways of shibori. What we have here is the perfect complement to the book Shibori by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellog Rice, and Jane Barton. The book has detailed drawings showing you how to stitch or otherwise manipulate the fabric to get the effect shown in photos. The DVD is the "action movie" that shows you the same thing. The DVD is in four sections: a historical introduction, the process including designing and mixing techniques, hand shibori techniques, and machine-aided shibori plus photos from the Sekka Dye factory (dyeing with indigo). This DVD proves that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I have had the Shibori book for ages, fully intending to study it, but watching artisans stitch the cloth or dye the folded and clamped fabric, is just so much more. After watching the DVD, I went back to the book and everything was that much more clear. Take a look, you'll see what I mean. By the way, the book has more examples and a gallery so I'm not saying either one is better than the other. I'm saying it's really wonderful to have both together.

I have to admit that while sitting with the cat in my lap, watching ladies carefully and slowly tieing and stitching designs, Yoshiko Wada's soft voice doing the voice-overs, and new-agey music playing in the background, I fell asleep. So I'm going to have to watch the process all over again--next time with a cup of coffee in hand. But no, it's not dull. It compares to those sewing shows where I could watch Fons & Porter endlessly cutting fabric or sewing seams. It's important to see how those Japanese ladies use their hands!

1 comment:

diana said...

The DVD sounds wonderful. Amazon, here I come!