Itajime or Fold and clamp shibori-overview

20 December 2006

This is the first of a series on itajime shibori. I will include a bit of history, techniques and contemporary work and many pictures since you have waded through so much text recently.
There is a chapter in my book, pages 78-82 on fold and clamp.
This is a very accessible technique, very simple tools are need to do it. You fold up the fiber into a packet and then squeeze the packet together while you dye it. Varaiations limited only by your mind.
Historically this technique was used to dye diapers in Japan. Diapers tend to wear out so not a lot of them remain. And these are indigo on cotton, a favorite of the Japanese but diffusion of the indigo adds to the beauty of the designs, often referred to as snowflakes.
Sometimes a template is placed on top and below the cloth packet and used to compress the packet. Here is DeAntonis doing it.
clamps_techniques.jpg Her itajime work is straight forward and stunning. I like this Japanese design.
It looks to me like it was dyed brown, clamped and discharged to celery.
My students have typically put a round shape in the center of the packet. The results, on a good day, are may circles spaced out on the cloth.
Laura Hunter.jpg From Laura Hunter.
The Japanese work tends to emphasize the edges of the packets that are connected into a network.
To get this kind of design the folded cloth packet and templates arethe same shape but the templates are slightly smaller than the packet so that only the egdes of the cloth are exposed to the dye.
Itajime is a technique that works in two colors such as white and indigo or many colors, or discharging and combinations. It works on many kinds of fabric and paper. It takes skill to fold acuarately for the network patterns. Clamps can be as simple as boards and rope or as fancy as wood working ones.
I like the paper that is done in this technique because it emphasizes the diffusion… soft fractal edges.
You can buy these kinds of Japanese papers or you can make them. Tomorrow we can do some paper together (wrapping paper?). You will need some absorbent papers (several kinds) and something to color it– India ink, watercolors or fiber reactive dyes since paper is cellulose. Bring your origami skills.


3 Responses to “Itajime or Fold and clamp shibori-overview”

  1. Chris Yocca Says:

    I have used different shapes for itajime clamping. I collected from yard sales, junk shops and wherever. My designs are nontraditional and not always geometric.


  2. isa vogel Says:

    Pls. could you tell me how you did the itajime that is looks like a diamond grid (it’s under the one where you say the Japanese like. . .). If you could post it to my regular e-mail that would be great and easier. Thank you, Isa vogel


  3. Karren Says:

    Isa, part of the reason for having the blog is to have all the info public and build a body of knowledge. I did not do that piece, it is Japanese. It looks like it was fan folded into diamond and then clamped with a diamond shape just smaller and then indigo dyed.


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