Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From the Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America


This panel of textile artists comes together to discuss current replication studies and design application of an ancient resist dyeing technique that involves carved board clamped resist dyeing on fabric. The inspiration pushing the panelists comes from 6-7th century jia xie in China and kyokechi in Japan and work from the Calico Museum in India as well as the important work of contemporary researchers, Tomoko Torimaru and Masanoa Arai.

The idea of creating patterns by tightly clamping folded fabric between mirrored carved board pairs is simple. The contemporary artistry is in finessing and manipulating dye penetration, choice of contemporary fabrics and design enhancements such as overdyeing, discharge dyeing and layering pattern on pattern with multiple processes accomplished on the same fabric. Historically, simple two color, high contrast patterning was created quickly with an eye toward mass production. Specialty fabrics were created by using holes and plugs selectively to control color flow of dye specifically to different parts of the clamped fabric. Use of this technique with today’s range of dyes is infinite.

The purpose of this panel is to bring this ancient technique and its current application to this textile audience. Successes and failures are shared. Problem solving, an inherent part of any artistic exploration, breaks down the challenges of block characteristics, dye manipulation, dye penetration, clamping and positioning to uncover the mysteries of this ancient technique and reveal its contemporary potential.