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Shibori in Feltmaking

How can the Japanese art of shibori be used to create fabulous shapes in wet-felting? In its simplest sense, shibori is a method of tie-dying, employed since 8th century Japan and uses the same resist techniques used by the Bandhani artistes in India

Bandhani comes from the Sanskrit word Banda - to tie - where cloth is tied with waxed thread before dipping it in a dye bath. Shibori uses stitching which is then pulled to make a gathered resist. In the images below, the indigo dyed fabric is Shibori and the red is Indian Bhandani.

This is all very well when tie-dying - where the tight threads act as a resist to dye - but how do knots and threads embellish felt without dying? It’s very simple and another proof of the magic of felt-making!

Towards the end of the felting process, knots (sometimes around marbles) and threads can be added to damp felted wool and left in until the felt is completely dry. Upon removal, the resists will have formed shapes and textures which look fabulous on wraps, pictures, vessels ……

When used on nuno felt, the fabric layer can be knotted prior to felting resulting in a ruched texture which adds another dimension to a fabulous felted garment. When wearing a ‘shibori’ inspired garment you won’t fail to be the subject of compliments galore and wraps which incorporate this technique are far too lovely to be put away after wearing - drape them instead over a chair where they can continue to be admired.

So how can you acquire one of these fabulous items? I have a few for sale or alternatively you can attend a workshop and make one in colours to suit your colour-ways. NB You will need some previous wet-felting experience before making one of these fabulous feltings but I’ll be on hand to guide and support you.

Or you could make a vessel incorporating these techniques - Sharon made a wrap recently and was so thrilled she felted some slippers and a bag to match! What are you waiting for?!

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