Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port. Textile Society of America's 15th Biennial Symposium. Savannah. GA. October 19-23. 2016.


Copyright 2016 by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada.


Shibori is a traditional Japanese textile term now widely used to classify a variety of patterns created on cloth by plucking, stitching, folding and then tightly knotting, binding, or clamping to compress and selectively resist dye penetration. The resulting patterns record the memory on cloth of the processes it sustained. Reading the resist marks on the cloth, shibori artisans can recreate the process or interpret various patterns. For the Textile Society of America’s Fifteenth Biennial Symposium in 2016 I organized a session with papers contributed by Françoise Cousin, Annie Ringuedé, and Ana Lisa Hedstrom and an exhibition titled “Arimatsu to Africa—examining shibori trade, techniques, and patterns,” which I curated in collaboration with Hiroshi Murase, a traditional artisan turned shibori producer and community leader, who was unable to attend the symposium. Joining me in Savannah were Ana Lisa Hedstrom and Annie Ringuedé. Ana Lisa is an internationally renowned American textile artist and contemporary interpreter and teacher of traditional shibori techniques. Her talk was titled “Ingenious and Practical: Parallels in the production of Arimatsu trade cloth and contemporary artists' textiles.” Annie is a social anthropologist and urban planner from France, who amid extensive work on development and humanitarian projects in North Africa and West Africa became fascinated by the rich weaving and cloth-dyeing traditions in those regions, especially in Guinea. She shared a presentation on “West African Indigo Textiles under Influences, Case-studies: the Fouta-Jallon wrapper & the Mauritanian melhafa.” In addition, Françoise Cousin, retired curator of textiles at the musée du quai Branly in Paris and scholar, researcher, and author, was not able to attend the symposium but submitted a paper, “Indigo and resist-dyed textiles in Central and West Africa.”