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10th International Shibori Symposium Exhibitions

10th International Shibori Symposium Exhibitions

This is a guest post by Kim of Flextiles. She recently attended the Tenth International Shibori Symposium and I thought you all might to get a glimpse of what she did and saw there. Thanks Kim!

My previous post about the 10th International Shibori Symposium (10iss) in Mexico last November focused on some of the workshops I attended. This time I’m going to report on some of the inspiring exhibitions and beautiful work on show.

Several of the exhibitions were in the Centro de las Artes de San Agustin (CASA), around 45 minutes’ drive from the centre of Oaxaca. It’s a former cotton mill that was converted into a stunning arts centre by local artist Francisco Toledo in 2000. Its hilltop location gives amazing views, and it has two exhibition halls and smaller rooms for running workshops.

Here there was a wonderful exhibition, curated by Yoshiko Nakamura and Consortium Arimatsu Narumi, of historical and modern Japanese indigo-dyed kimono from Arimatsu and Narumi in Japan.

Another exhibition here showcased 12 pieces of clothing designed by Mexican designer Carla Fernandez, highlighting connections between the Mexican and Japanese traditions of ikat (known as jaspe in Mexico and kasuri in Japan).

The contemporary garments were wonderful, combining Japanese silhouettes and designs with traditional Mexican rebozo patterns.

The main exhibition hall at CASA was given over to a wide range of contemporary shibori artworks and wearables, curated by Yoshiko Wada and Trine Ellitsgaard. Unfortunately, the evening viewing I went to was quite dark, so I found it tricky to get decent photos, but here’s a flavour of some of the pieces on display.

A short walk downhill from CASA is the paper making cooperative Arte Papel Vista Hermosa, also founded by Francisco Toledo. Its members use bark, plants, flowers, cotton, hemp, silk, linen and pieces of shiny mica in their products. As well as seeing the artisans at work, visitors can have a go at making paper themselves.

For this exhibition they worked with artist Kiff Slemmons to produce some stunningly intricate paper jewelry. And yes – I did end up buying a piece! 🙂

Back in town, the Textile Museum of Oaxaca was, unsurprisingly, the main exhibition focus. One of the most eye-catching was an installation of bandhani flags by Christina Kim. This was a collaboration between artisans in Kutch in Gujarat and the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad to employ women displaced by the 2001 earthquake in Kutch. Fluttering against the blue sky, the flags were a stunning sight.

The second exhibition was an interesting cross-cultural comparison of shibori and ikat techniques from around the world. While I know something of the Japanese and Indian traditions, I was less familiar with jaspe, the Mexican equivalent of ikat.

Ikat is the process where (usually) sections of the warp threads are bound with threads before dyeing, forming a pattern that will show after weaving. Sometimes the weft threads are dyed, and sometimes both warp and weft – this is known as double ikat (or patola in India).

It’s immensely disciplined because you have to know exactly where the dyed threads will end up in the final piece – no changing your mind (or pattern) once you start! The resulting designs tend to look a little “fuzzy” around the edges.

Shibori pieces on display ranged from a Japanese kanoko shibori jacket to raffia- stitched fabric from Africa.

Finally, there was a fascinating exhibition on the plumed weavings of Mexico. In the 1980s, a fragment of fabric woven with a mixture of cotton and duck down was found in a flea market in Puebla. The technique seems to have been unique to Mexico, and the exhibition displayed work by modern weavers incorporating duck down.


There is a website here explaining the process, but it is all in Spanish.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and Kim will answer you. Thanks for the post Kim!


Another Shibori Scarf and Hand Dyed Threads

Another Shibori Scarf and Hand Dyed Threads

Since my first attempt at a shibori scarf was successful, I decided to stitch another one that was an eco-dyed failure. This scarf was hand-made felt so it was significantly thicker than the last scarf I dyed with this method.

Beginning to Tie and KnotHere’s the scarf after all the stitching was complete and pulling the threads to tie off had started. The bright blue-green color came from commercially dyed eucalyptus leaves.

Tighter?I really worked at getting this one tied tighter than the last one. I think I was more successful but the felt was much thicker so it was easier to get it tight.

Shibori ScarfI put the tied scarf into a pot of acid dye that was a combination of black and red. I think it improves the scarf, don’t you?

Shibori Scarf - closer viewThere are still spots of the blue-green but now they are just accents as opposed to big blobs of ugliness.

Dyed ThreadsI also dyed a bunch of cotton and wool threads the same day I dyed the scarf. I ‘needed’ more blue violets and red violets in my stash of threads. I used #5, #8 and #12 perle cottons, regular embroidery floss and wool lace weight thread. The wool is all on the right side of the photo. It got thrown in the pot with the scarf and is a really dark, deep red.

Cotton ThreadsI really love how hand dyed threads are variable. I was working on getting a range of values in the same colors. I added a few green threads in too to make a nice color combination.

Wool ThreadHere’s a closer view of the wool thread. It has sections of brighter red in between the really dark portions. I’m not sure how I’m going to use these threads. I have tons of threads that I dyed for my stitch class but it always seems like I just don’t have the ‘right’ color when I need it.  Does that happen to you?

All of us here at The Felting and Fiber Studio would like to wish you a Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) and hope that your holidays are safe and happy! Thanks for stopping by, we appreciate your comments and love to hear from each and every one of you. 🙂