Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



In Approaching Textiles, Varying Viewpoints: Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000


Copyright © 2000 by the author(s).


Shibori has recently become part of American textile vernacular. Folk traditions have often been sources of inspiration and appropriation by Western craftsmen and designers. The phenomenon of shibori is not only how it has been embraced by Americans, but how our viewpoints and adaptation of techniques have also changed and inspired craftsmen in Arimatsu, Japan, the center for production of indigo dyed cotton shibori. Today, in Japan, plastic plumbing pipe is used for Arashi, polyester is replacing cotton to create permanently textured shibori fabrics, and Western industrial techniques of cloque and devore enhance traditional patterns.

I propose to follow how American shibori has thrived in conjunction with the growth of atelier created art clothing. The competitive fashion world has instigated much of the development of "shibori language" as designers seek a signature fabric. I will speak from my own experience in the studio, the museum, and the marketplace, and share the work of other designers who have created an individual look: Marien Clayden, Carter Smith, Joan McGee and Genvieve Dion.

For centuries both economic stress and opportunity have challenged the shibori craftsman in Japan. Today young designers such as Reiko Sudo and Yoshiki Hishinuma are again innovators with their high tech shibori-heat shrinking, laminating, and dissolving threads.