More shibori samples for the sting ray

18 June 2006

I am working on an outfit, composed of a leather jacket and a dress, with my collaborator Grace Meacham. This will go to for the Art in Motion show at the Textile Center. We started with a piece of sing ray leather that is black and has a white pattern down the center (May 28, 2006 entry). I’m trying to get a shibori pattern inspired by white pattern and that will look good with the sting ray leather.
When Grace and I evaluated the stitched shibori samples we liked the pattern which worked on both the grain and bias fold of the fabric but the background was not black enough and the hand was wrong for the dress that we were now envisioning. So we need more samples. Grace wanted to see a crepe de chine because of the drape and I’ll add some more fabrics from what I have on hand. The most efficient way is to stitch all and dye once.


Making samples is always a learning experience, and it is a lot like shibori you don’t know what you’ll learn. I added a wool/silk sheer slub fabric that I love, a silk corduroy and a silk matelasse that is lovely but I have never found a use for. I also stitched more of the shantung and then reserved the background to create a white shadow pattern. They were all stitched and dyed together.
The wool/silk sample was too porous and the pattern was in many shades of grey instead of black, white and grey.
The crepe has a defined pattern but the background is very mottled and distracting. A smooth surface like this shows more variations in the ground color than a textured cloth. Also the crepe is very dense and even a tiny bit of compression produces variations in color, useful in many shibori techniques but counter-productive here where I would like a even black background. The black background is what will determine if it looks good with black leather in the jacket.
The silk corduroy is a sample(10-14 yds) I got in from a Chinese supplier and have never worked with. I used Lanaset black dye that dyes only silk. corduroyjpg
It did not dye the nap of the corduroy. If you look at the top, at the selvage, where there is no nap you will see how black it is. It looks just like the rayon (nap)/silk(ground) velvet dyed with Lanaset, so I suspect it is really rayon/silk corduroy! One curious effect is that the white nap tends to visually enlarge the white pattern.
The white shadow shibori sample on shantung did change it from a white stripe on black to a black stripe on a mottled white ground.
stingraysample-wtshadowdetail.jpg
Not very inspiring, it may need more work such a binding closer to the stitching.
The matelasse sample worked well.
matelassesample.jpg
The pattern is clear, the back ground evenly black. The black still looks black next to the shiny black leather. Grace likes the hand– very supple– and loves the texture created by the matelasse (hard to see in the photo). So we will use the matelasse for the dress.
The next step is to work on the garment design and make a pattern. We want the design not only to include the sting ray leather but to reference the shape and movement of the sting rays in the sea– they are beautiful to see move.

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