Students in Textiles are working on folding, twisting, bunching, and binding cloth, to prepare for dyeing it in indigo. Shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique that dates back to the 8th century. Whatever is used to bind the fabric will resist the dye, resulting in areas of the cloth that take the distinctive blue dye in patterns created by the resistance, and other areas of the cloth that remain white. Shibori is a very vast technique and there are tons of ways to do it (and a truly infinite number of patterns you can create), but in in class we’re working on three methods: wood blocks, a variety of running stitch techniques, and wrapping string around marbles.
Students are also making personal connections to the craft by writing personal artist statements that explore metaphors and associations to the color blue. We are discussing and observing how pattern surrounds us in our daily lives.
Students also looked at the work of contemporary artist Rowland Ricketts, who utilizes natural dyes and historical processes to create contemporary textiles that span art and design. Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, Rowland received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005 and is currently a Professor in Textiles at Indiana University. Check out Ricketts beautiful Indigo work here.