Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Wada, Yoshiko Iwamoto. “New Twist on Shibori: How an Old Tradition Survives in the New World When Japanese Wooden Poles Are Replaced by American PVC Pipes.” Contact, Crossover, Continuity: Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 22–24, 1994 (Los Angeles, CA: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1995), pp. 265–270.


Copyright © 1994 Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada


The subject of my talk is arashi shibori or pole wrap resist Although at times it is hard to recognize some arashi effects as such, technically arashi shibori is one of many forms of tie-dye. After thirty years of its exploration through art-to-wear, dyed and painted tapestries, three dimensional sculptures, and mixed media in the United States, various forms of tie-dye have now become part of the lexicon of American fabric design and fiberarts vocabulary.

On the one hand, there has been much effort by textile specialists to circumvent the term "tie-dye," due to its association with the Grateful Dead, the rock band cult figures with their "dead heads" dressed in tie-dyed T shirts. Or conversely, some textile scholars apply the term tie-dyed fabric to both ikat and shibori fabrics of various ethnic origins. However, tie-dyeing yarns to weave cloth and tie-dyeing cloth itself present two very different circumstances which require different processes, and therefore result in two dissimilar effects. Plangi and tritik have also been used to refer to some of the "tie-dyed" textiles, although I have often found an inconsistent use of the term plangi. As far as I can tell, the term tritik is always used to indicate stitch-resist technique, but plangi seems to refer to gathered and bound resist, or stitched and bound—sometimes capped resist, as well as to many other tie-dye processes. On the other hand, a majority of Japanese shibori terms are quite particular as to the process required to create a specific pattern. For those unfamiliar with Japanese terms, I choose to use English terms, such as clamp-resist, stitch and bound resist, and pole wrap resist, etc. Nonetheless, this confusion in the technical terms used in one area of surface design vocabulary is a good example of just how the "contact and crossover" of these culturally specific fiber arts practices may need further articulation to continue in a new context.