I looked at “Modern Shibori” by Silke Bossbach, A&C Black 2011 for inspiration before starting this section. Shibori is traditionally worked in silk, with or without inclusions in the fabric to mould shapes. These can be left in place, or removed once the fabic has taken on it’s shape. This small sample was worked in white with polyester machine embroidery thread. I started by wrapping the thread around fabric over a sheathed seam ripper, which was then removed and the wraps tightened.

I moulded damp calico around wooden spheres, and pinned over polystyrene shapes on a foam board. Once dry, the shapes were removed. I wondered how I could work this if I wanted to dye the calico. I presume I would need to prewash the calico, dye it and use dilute PVA to rewet the fabric before moulding.

I then tied fine cotton around small rhinestones with metallic thread. I thought it was interesting making a feature of the thread, and experimented tieing the rhinestones in the right side of the fabric so that they could shine. I have learned that the shapes and forms between the inclusions can be as important as the knotted areas themselves, and attention needs to be paid to the negative space.

Using a similar technique with small rhinestones in a fine web tulle worked very well.

I had a jumper I had crocheted with malibrigo lace yarn that unfortunately never fitted properly (novice effort!). What I was unable to unravel into reuseable yarn has been kept for felting. Here the crochet was tied over wooden shibori beads and felted in hot soapy water by hand. I like the way the lace pattern formed a contrast with the tight felt around the base.

This creates a temporary diversion in my efforts towards ‘slash and reveal’ techniques. At Ferens Art Gallery Open Exhibition in Hull this year, I saw some work by an artist called Sophie Wray, where she had worked synthetic intarsia patches into a natural fibre knit. The piece was then washed hot so that the natural yarn knit felted and shrunk, and the intarsia areas remained unfelted and the same size. I have also been looking at Nuno felt which I wish to try, and enjoy the interplay of fine fabrics against thick felt. I machine stitched my crochet to a sheer fabric, and felted the piece, before slashing it to reveal the bunched up sheer fabric beneath. It would have been even more effective had the sheer been so bunched up that it could protrude through the slashes. I stitched the piece to a calico backing in order to hold the slashes open.

Back to shibori principles, I thought I would experiment with heat tools and consumables. I had bought some heat mouldable mesh, and held it around wooden balls wrapped in foil before heating with a heat gun. I tried wrapping the resulting shapes with polyester organza held in place with wire before melting into place. This was a limited sucess as I wasn’t keen on the appearance of the mesh through the fabric.

I could either use a more opaque material to cover it, or a material more complimentary to the plastic mesh. For my second attempt, I melted plastic vegetable bags around the mesh and felt it was really effective.


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