first, i’ll show you this:
then this (from the daily dyer blog):
and then talk a little about unwoven shibori, a phrase i’ll coin here for lack of something else to call it. recently at the JANM workshop one of the participants gave me an extra piece of open woven linen she had brought (thanks gerrie!). i took it home with intentions of putting it into the indigo vat. since it was a piece that was cut without attention to the straight of grain, i started pulling a thread to determine just that. wait a minute!
it was gathering so nicely i wondered about pulling threads to gather for shibori dyeing! then as i removed the pulled up thread, i realized it was reminding me of that lovely taiten yukata i recently acquired. did i show that to you yet?
Taiten shibori is a form of woven shibori in which supplemental warps are added in a pattern with the intention of gathering them for dyeing and then removing them. this yukata above is one of the most excellent example of it that i have seen. I love how the bolt was ombre dyed side to side and how it so beautifully expressed it’s loveliness in the finished piece. Much forethought here I imagine. I have since discovered that the gathering threads which were woven into the cloth were often waxed for maximum strength. They were also heavier than the rest of the warp and weft. Thus, once removed, they left a gap, or a pulled thread look, which added to the overall design of the fabric.
My understanding is that taiten shibori was made for a fairly brief period of time in the early 1900’s (1912 according to Wada’s book Memory on Cloth) and maybe as late as the 50’s and 60’s.
Old taiten is usually a very fine plain weave cotton with the supplementary warp threads a much heavier waxed thread (for additional strength). Thus their removal leaves the additional element of the pulled thread design. Most woven shibori I see today is on much heavier cloth. Can you imagine the gathering process of a full bolt of taiten cloth? Though eventually woven on industrial looms I wonder if the gathering process was done by hand? I imagine the heavier threads could be left attached to the warp bar (non weaver technical term!)and gathered simultaneously.
I just found all this interesting and was reminded of it all by this little piece of gathered cloth.