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Nuishibori

Mei Line nuishibori

Nuishibori is a name used in Japan for all reserve techniques where sticking and tying is involved. It is a fascinating world I am starting to explore, and I find that applying it to our typically French fabrics created a wonderful cultural melting pot. Sticking and tying the fabric. depending on the pattern the stitches are more or less far appart, but it always involves a considerable amount of stitches and knots per square meter of fabric. Indigo dyeing the tied bundles Some finished fabrics… bliss!

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Indigo dyeing

In the world of natural dyes, indigo has a place on it’s own. Unlike other dyes, it does not need mordanting and can be applied to the fabric straight after scouring. However, it is still very labour intensive, and patience is still of essence here. The dye is applied by layers, dipping the fabric repetitively, and oxygenating it between the dips to allow the indigo blue to appear and intensify with every subsequent dip. One of the many things that we learned during our 10 day advanced course at Buaisou, in Japan, is to rinse and fix the indigo. It might sound like a simple thing, but careful manipulation of the fabric during those steps is paramount to the final effect. The rinsing process involved several cold and…

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Itajime shibori

Itajime shibori at Mei Line

Itajime shibori is another reserve technique used to create patterns. This time the fabric is folded and pressed between two pieces of wood. The foods, along with press placement, lead to a variety of patterns. I am always in awe with the magic of those geometric creations when unfolding the fabric, it’s the best time!! The fabric is carefully folded and clamped between two wood presses A number of dips in the indigo vat are necessary to obtain the required depth of colour. between each dip, the fabric is patiently oxygenated by opening up each fold. It is then rinsed and the process is repeated After unfolding…

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Arashi shibori

Arashi shibori at Mei Line

The Arashi pattern is created by tying a piece of cloth very tightly around a cylinder and then crumpling down the fabric to form little creases. It is one of the numerous reserve techniques used in Japan grouped under the shibori term. The tradition was to use a very large bamboo section in Japan, but here, we make do with PVC tube. The fabric is dyed in the indigo vat, several bath separated by oxygenation and rinsing are necessary to achieve the desired tint. After the 3 days long process of rinsing and scouring, the fabric is put to dry. The word Ararshi means lightning, but to me the pattern evokes water, with an infinity of ideas for it’s future use around the house and body..

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Block printing

Block printing is a technique used to create patterns by stamping shapes cut out of wooden blocks. The blocks are previously impregnated either with concentrated mordant, or with mild acid that erases the mordant pre-existing on the fabric. This creates either a positive or negative contrast once exposed to the pigment. It is a bit tricky because the print only reveals itself much later in the process, after the dye has been applied. The wooden blocks used for block printing come from a variety of sources and countries. I have actually owned many of them well before being initiated to the joys of natural dyes: as objects they speak of a craftsmanship that talks to my heart. A friend has brought a few of them back from India,…

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