or …. happiness is a full washing line

Shibori is a Japanese word for what many aging hippies will know more commonly as tie-dye – although it is often practised in a far more sophisticated and subtle way than the T-shirt with concentric circles you may remember from your youth. It refers to a number of techniques of resist dyeing, where the fabric is compressed to stop the dye getting equally to all parts. Stitching and gathering, pleating, folding, twisting, binding, scrunching up round a cylinder or compression between flat boards or ropes can all be used to get an almost infinite variety of patterns, as can resists (wax (batik), mud, flour paste etc.). Unless you are a very experienced practitioner (I’m not), part of the thrill of this process is not being quite sure what the result will be until the final unpicking, untwisting or removing the clamps.

You can use any dye to colour the fabric, but I’m a big fan of indigo – there is something magical about the development of the colour as you draw out the fabric from the vat, and it changes from yellow-green to deep blue with bronze glints as the air gets to it.

I get together with a friend every year or two and we spend a couple of days in our old jeans and tops getting blue hands and having great fun. This year, we tried arashi for the first time with mixed results, and can’t wait for next year to try more!