When the Wall Street Journal
asks if shibori is the new ikat, you know it must be having a moment. But long before Vera Wang and West Elm trotted out shibori bedspreads and shower curtains, I learned about the Japanese art from my friend Rachel, who designed the beautiful headboard leading this post.
Shibori, a resist-dying technique, dates to seventh-century Japan. The patterns are made by folding, twisting, and binding the fabric before dying it. Traditionally it's known for its distinct indigo-blue hue.
In "Patterns of Home Decoration: Is Shibori the next Ikat," the Wall Street Journal talks to Brooklyn designer Rebecca Atwood, who uses modern fiber-reactive dyes in unexpected colors and combinations for her new Blauvelt Collection. Atwood points out that unlike screenprinting, "the hand of the maker is really coming through" in shibori.
Maybe that's why the mass-produced versions don't appeal to me as much. They capture the general look of shibori but not its nuances. If you look at hand-dyed shibori, the patterns are fluid, almost watery, and always unique.
Like Rachel's headboard, for example. The handmade quality makes it extra special in my mind. I love the soft color she chose and how she styled it. She's been practicing shibori for a while, and the results keep getting better. (Check out more photos of Rachel's bed and other shibori projects at Mr. Blue Skye.)
That's a very cool thing about shibori: It's a craft you can easily do at home. Shibori tutorials abound online, ranging from the very basic to the more advanced. The World Shibori Network is a particularly thorough resource, or you can dig into a short history of shibori (with tons of pretty pics!) at Need Supply Co.
What do you think: would you incorporate shibori into your home?
(Images: As credited above.)