shibori workshop

here are some photos from the very exciting, inspiring, potentially life-altering 5-day shibori dyeing workshop i took two weeks ago, with the extremely brilliant artist Joan Morris, at the Womens Studio Workshop. as usual when i love something this much, i have a hard time putting it all into words, as there were 5 long days (which flew by) packed with information, demonstration, and projects. although the official hours were 9-4, most days we worked until at least 6, and then more at home at night into the wee hours! hand stitching takes a long time, and two of the techniques required much densely-packed fine stitching to be done properly. believe it or not i still have a few that i haven’t pulled the stitches out of yet, because i didn’t act fast enough with my camera and it’s been cloudy and raining the past few days.

we had so much fun examining Joan’s collection of samples from all over the world (no, shibori is not just from Japan; various types of “shaped-resist dyeing” which is her preferred term, are made in South America, India, and Africa) and learning how to execute (beginner versions of) 10 different styles. all but one of which are extremely labor intensive! but the kind of labor i love, of course…

in addition to her 30+ years of shibori experience, Joan is also a master of natural dyeing. over the course of the week we used only natural dyes and got an amazing range of brilliant color. we used weld, madder, indigo, cochineal, black walnut, osage, cutch, and tea. i had been under the impression from past natural dye workshops that the mordants required were all toxic enough to negate the positive impact of using natural dyes, but Joan taught us that most of the dyes work well and remain permanent using relatively safe mordants (when handled carefully), such as aluminum sulfate which is what we used on both protein and cellulose fibers.

i would highly recommend the Summer Arts Institute program (next year) at WSW; the building and setting are lovely, the teachers are gifted, and the lunches ROCK. i was also particularly in love with the outdoor kitchen area that we used as our dye studio… one day i’d love to have something like it!


  1. wow! i only heard of shibori a few months ago. I’m liking what I’m seeing!
    and of particular interest is the dyeing- i’ve also stayed away from ‘natural’ dyes because of the harsh mordants.

  2. Helen Stubblefield Anderson

    That was my little hang out for a year! It is great, isn’t it? I would love one to someday. I love Joan Morris, too, brilliant woman. I took this workshop at Peter’s Valley a few years ago. The thing that still stops me from working with natural dyes is the disposal of the mordants and the proper ventilation needed when dying (I know she really prefers outside.)

  3. Pingback: …and finally, Day 30 – You’ve Got Class « Double Knot Studio

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