How an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made-4

5 October 2006

So far we have made the scarves, dyed them purple, and washed and ironed them in preparation for pole wrapping . Today we will pole wrap , in a process called arashi shibori. I hope you like purple today, you will see a lot.
We have many poles of various sizes, we have 10 like this :
This is polypropylene (PP) not polyvinyl chloride (PVC) because we steam the poles and after several steaming the PVC poles change shape. These have been steamed thousands of times. The poles are 30″ tall and ID of 6″.
Now I was taught and wrapped my first few poles in this upright position. But since I do so much of it I built a box, with nice ball bearings, to make it easier for me to wrap. Here is the pole on the roller box
The process is to wrap string tightly over the silk and then push it to one end. The pushing is the hardest step. It can be made easier with a slippery coating on the pole. Here I am spraying it with silicone.
Now the carefully ironed silk, this one is a giant star, is arranged on the pole.
silk on pole.jpg
The silk fits at an angle until it touches itself, it ends up looking like the paper cores for toilet paper or paper towels with a spiral butted joint. This gives some flexibility in the size of the silk that can be wrapped, but it still works best with a narrow rectangle, it can be very long. I use masking tape to secure the silk, silk stuck to silk, not to the pole.
I use 8/4 rug warp to wrap, it is strong, cheap and undyed. I also need to protect my hand from rope cuts when I hold and tension it. I use a bundlers glove–I think they are made for people who prepare things for shipping with strapping.
Anyhow you can see the need for protection is not theoretical. Any one need pristine bundlers gloves for the left hand?
I tie the string to the pole and wrap it around my hand and begin to wrap.
The right hand tensions and spaces the string the left hand turns the pole. The left hand also pats the silk a lot to smooth it out. I wrap very tightly. After all it is the compression of the silk between the string and the pole that creates the resists. If the wrapping is too loose there won’t be any resisting. I wrap for about a hand span, then stop. To keep the tension on the string I tape it down to the silk.

Now I push the wrapped silk to the right and this makes the pleats.
This is the hardest step. The more wraps you have the harder it is to push. The tighter you wrap the harder it is to push. If you only wrap 2 or 3″ before you stop and push it is easy to push. But I hate to stop and start. Sometimes I forget to stop and I have the whole pole covered in beautifully spaced wraps! Ughhhh,I just can’t budge it! This need a macho push (lots of upper body strength required) or I can slowly inch it all up with my fingernails. Anyhow when I get it pushed to the end, I wrap some more.
more wraps.jpg
Here you can see the pleated part on the right and the just wrapped part to its left. I alternate wrapping and pushing until it is all pleated.
To be efficient when I’m dyeing I like to have more that one pole of the same color.
many wrapped.jpg
I try to do all 10 poles in one batch.
It will be Tues. before I’m back in the studio to discharge and dye the poles.


4 Responses to “How an ENTWINEMENTS scarf is made-4”

  1. stephanie s Says:

    this is such a great tutorial – i am facinated by the process and now i am not sure i am patient enough to wait until tuesday!!! thank you for posting about your work, it is wonderful.


  2. Marguerite Says:

    I agree, I’m looking forward to Tuesday!


  3. glennis Says:

    Now I know why my poles are going bad-at least I know what to replace them with now. Thanks! I am still struggling/experimenting with how to fold/iron the silk prior to pole wrapping.


  4. Wow, very clear tutorial! I’ve tried Arashi – and I understand both the glove and the silicon. What is the rug thread that you use?
    And, btw, I am left-handed and might be interested in a glove or two 🙂


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