I love the indigo hillsides of bluebonnet season, but its the sunrise fields that come after bluebonnet season, that I most adore. The reds, ambers, blacks, whites, greens, and wheat blonde flowers, both blooming and crunchy, ready to drop seed, are my favorites. We took a walk along one of our cities bayous to capture what is in my daughters time, and the spring season in Texas, ephemeral. Our quilts go with us, always.
I hosted a beginner's Indigo Shibori Workshop here at my home in Downtown Houston this past weekend. It was a wild and windy day, but that didn't stop us from enjoying each other's company, and discovering new ways to wrap, fold, clamp and dye!
We started inside by sharing what brought each of us to the workshop, and where our interest lies. We had an origami artist in the group, an engineer who weaves and has had experience dyeing before, but not with natural materials. We had a special education teacher who is also a watercolorist. I loved the idea of her interest in watercolor crossing over to into natural dyeing, there are so many connections there with water and pigment. And then there were a few curious seekers, who left the workshop ready to start their own vats!
We covered two shibori techniques which were invented in the mid 19th Century: itajime and arashi. With regards to an art form whose earliest samples date back to the 8th century, these itajime (fold and clamp) and arashi (pole wrapping) methods are modern in the realm of art history. We worked with a protein and a cellulose fiber: a 35" x 35" silk scarf and a linen dish towel.
I was amazed at how each student took the process and folded their scarves a certain way, to achieve such varying results with the arashi. Triangular, on a diagonal, straight forward and wrapped very tightly.... once we had our materials bound we went outside and began the first of five dips. The first dip is always my favorite, watching that teal green transform to deep blue before my eyes. Once we got into the rhythm of the dipping, I made herbal tea and coffee for everyone, and we enjoyed a lemon slice and shortbread in the warm sun.
When the dipping was done and we rinsed the shibori, the excitement in everyone was as high as the sky. It's so satisfying to see the results of things that you've worked on for the last three hours, especially a process that is new to you. I look forward to seeing my students wear their silk scarves, and enjoying their new tea towels at home.
I offer 3-5 beginners shibori workshops each year. It's limited to 6 students per workshop- we get lots of one on one time!
For workshop information please visit www.campfirequilts.com
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