Kimono House, a little piece of Japan in the heart of the city, invites you to uncover the ancient art of Shibori - Japanese resist-dyed textiles. You will discover this beautiful art and how it's produced. Shibori cloth from the centuries-old cotton dyeing houses of Arimatsu along the Tokaido Highway and the exotic silks from the artisans of Kyoto will be in the exhibition.
Shibori Indigo Textiles (image from organiser's website)
Also on display are vintage garments and bolts of cloth, alongside tools of the trade and samples of the resist-dyeing process. You will be able to share your interest for Japanese culture and craft and discover this hidden secret in CBD.
Shibori Exhibition at Kimono House (from organiser's website)
Inspired by regular trips to Japan by its owner, Leanne O'Sullivan, Kimono House provides directly sourced textile treasures, a place to explore your creative side and opportunities for an authentic Japanese cultural experience. During the exhibition's winter season, a limited collection of contemporary Shibori textile accessories selected from the studios of Kyoto designers will also be available in the Kimono House Shop.
What is Shibori? Shibori is a resist-dyeing technique which dates back to the 8th century in the ancient capital of Japan, Nara. The most common fabrics which were dyed were silk, hemp and cotton. The most widely used dye is the natural plant indigo, with its distinctive blue colour. There are many varieties and techniques for Shibori such as binding, twisting, compressing, folding and stitching. For example, Kanoko Shibori is a technique which involves binding the cloth (what we in the west usually call tie-die); Kumo Shibori is a pleated and bound resist which produces distinctive spidery patters; Arashi (storm) Shibori is also known as pole-wrapping; Itajime Shibori is a shaped-resist technique (I have tried this method using cut pieces of wood and C-clamps to produce very pleasing results).
My Arashi Shibori and Silk Painting Displayed in the Museum of Brisbane (image by May Cross)
I was taught the ancient art of Shibori by flamboyant Community Artist Donna Toussaint. Donna's interest in textiles began as a child when she was shown how to embroider by her beloved grandmother. Her granny gave her a Japanese doll with a Shibori obi (sash) which she loved to touch. Years later when she was living and working in Tokyo as a 21-year-old, she learnt the art of Shibori and bought a book by Yoshiko Wada called The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing. "It is still one of my favourite books," Donna told me. "My grandmother didn't know the legacy she would imbue."
My Shibori Indigo Scarves (image by May Cross)
Kimono House runs workshops on their premises including "An Introduction to Shibori Indigo Dyeing". This one day class introduces the world of Japanese resist-dyeing using traditional Shibori techniques. You will fold, clamp and stitch cotton and silk fabric for indigo dyeing to make your own scarf or wrapping cloth, pocket square or handkerchief in the brilliant blue that only indigo can produce.
Shibori Indigo Dyeing (image from Kimono House website)
The exhibition is on from Tuesday 3 July to Friday 20 July. Kimono House retails from a studio located in Melbourne's Nicholas Building on Level 2 at 37 Swanston Street in Melbourne. There is wheelchair access with a lift accessed via Cathedral Arcade, near the corner of Flinders Lane. The exhibition is FREE and is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm from Tuesday to Saturday inclusive. Bookings are not necessary; just drop in and view this beautiful display. For further details, click here.