Itajime design

8 January 2007

This is Calvin Klein’s shibori print bed linens. And now you know how the design was developed even if this is a printed version. See this ; granted we haven’t worked our way up to cloth yet, but we will.
Are any of you doing any of this? Do you have pictures, do we need to set up a site on Flickr where we can all share itajime?


More folding for itajime

6 January 2007

Here are two more sheets of paper I did with the right triangle fold described here. This is also the fold that was used to make these two Japanese pieces (I, II). We have an idea how these Japanese pieces were made; precise right triangle fan fold, two colors and a very quick controlled dip.
Mine were allowed to absorb more ink and look very different.
4-f splotches1.jpg
4-f splotches.jpg
I looove the fuzzy edges of the design where the ink diffuses in.
fuzzy edges.jpg
Another shape that you can fold for itajime is an isoscelese triangle. The goods are fan folded in one directions as before then the triangles are formed in the second folding. This will give the designs 6-fold symmetry, more like snowflakes.
You have a long narrow rectangle at the end of the first fan fold. The first fold will be at a 60 degree angle.
60 angle.jpg
You will some kind of device to measure the angle, a protractor is the first that comes to my mind but the first one I found in my studio was a ruler used by quilters with rotary cutters, that had a 60 degree line marked.
ruler 60.jpg
This first fold goes to the center of the triangle, not all the way. After you make the next fold you will see the entire triangle.
2nd fold 60.jpg
Keep folding back and forth in this manner, matching edges of the paper packet to the edges of the triangle and matching the points. The top side will have a half triangle .
done 60 .jpg
The back side may or may not finished with a full triangle. Keep folding the little bits until nothing sticks out beyond the triangle.
backside folded.jpg
When this paper was all folded I dipped all the edges into sumi ink like I did the others, to form a grid.
Here are two grids I made.
6-f grid2.jpg
6-f grid 1.jpg
You can see that the hexagon has six-fold symmetry like snowflakes and this is the fold used to make a previous entry.
If any of you are trying this, how do you think this piece was folded? Stunning, eh?


5 January 2007

Folding is the first step in itajime. I’m going to practice on paper since it is the easiest to fold. The goal today is to produe grids or networks by dyeing the edges just one color.
I have some rice paper I bought but any absorbent paper will work. Absorbent papers you may have in your house include paper towels and coffee filters. Test any paper you want to use to see that it is absorbent. It does not have to be as absorbent as a paper towel but if it doesn’t suck up some water it won’t work. I am using sumi ink today; it was the largest bottle of ink in the store. You need plenty to pour into a shallow dish. You will dip the folded paper into the ink so the ink needs to be about ¼” or 0.5cm deep and the dish needs to be bigger than the folded paper.
The trick with all itajime is to fan fold (or accordion fold, different words same fold) the goods so that each edge is exposed to the ink/dye.
fan fold.jpg
Here you can see that each edge can touch the ink.
You can now dip the folded edges in ink/dye. If you don’t have a dish or tray the length of the paper you can loosely curl it around to fit in your dish. This tends to open it up more in some places but that can create interesting variations.
fanfold ink.jpg
This was curled up and opened in the middle. You can also see that all the folds did NOT
line up precisely and consequently some folds were too high to touch the ink. Precision in folding is rewarded with every edge getting ink.
Or the paper that is fan folded can be fan folded in the other directions. The most obvious fold is a square.
Just make sure that you go back and forth folding. If you go over and over in folding you will create and inside and outside and the dye will have difficulty getting to the inside.
sq fold ink.jpg
Here I am just dipped all the edges in the sumi ink.
Even in the second fan fold it can be difficult to get the ink/dye to the innermost layer. Here I am peeking to see if the ink came all the way to the inner layer.
peek inside.jpg
Folding squares makes an all over grid.
Now the second fold can be a right triangle, again back and forth, also called a flag fold.
rt triangle fold.jpg
flag folded.jpg
Here I dyed all the edges.
trinagle dyed.jpg
Now the ink did not get to all the insides of all the folds; it did penetrate on the right but not on th left. This means that one bar or line of the grid will be missing in the overall pattern.
inside triangle.jpg
Now the pattern is a grid with diagonals making a cross in the center. Just because they are done the same way doesn’t mean that they will look the same, but they will have the same symmetry.
rt triangle grid.jpg
rt triangle grid 2.jpg
To be continued…

Japanese Itajime

28 December 2006

Here are some current Japanese pieces that show the network effect.
And these are more snow flakes, all of these are on cotton cloth.

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.