Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique of folding, stitching or tying fabric in order to achieve repetitive patterns through subsequent dye emersion.
Often the fabric will be pre-marked with specific patterns which are then painstakingly stitched or tied by hand, the manipulated fabric is then emersed in fabric dye, rinsed out and re-emersed until the desired depth of colour has been achieved. Once this step has been completed the knots or stitches are removed from the fabric and the places where the dye was not able to reach are left uncoloured creating beautiful patterns.
Compared to other batik techniques Japanese Shibori is incredibly finely detailed and often relies on the highly repetitive nature of the stitches or tied-off points in order to create large areas of visually structured geometrical patterns. The process of creating these patterns is incredibly labour intensive and a full-length Kimono with a complete Shibori batik design will take up to three months of work to complete.
Modern fabrics may attempt to emulate the look of shibori through printing similar patterns onto the fabric surface, however, it is easy to spot an in-authentic printed shibori pattern as the fabric will display none of the textural surface structure of an authentic handmade Shibori textile.
Below is a video showing how Shibori is created in a traditional Japanese textile workshop