This traditional Japanese craft converts simplepieces of cloth into paradisiacal wreaths of art.

Cloth, before and after it touches a persons body is anexpression of the wearers social status, custom, heritage, and aspirations.The way the fabric is designed and used holds a special meaning for the weareraffecting ones aesthetic sensibilities. Man has used different ways ofembellishing textiles in many creative ways. Dyeing the textiles in livelycolors is one of them. In dyeing too, several novel ideas are used to apply thedyes in a resourceful manner. Dyeing has evolved through many cultures allaround the world, and is practiced as a special art in countries like China, Japan, Latin America, and Africa. Shibori is a way of dyeing textiles in Japan since the 8th century. Numerous techniques are followed for resistprocesses.

Shibori is a cloth dyeing technique which includesstitching, binding, twisting, clamping and folding. Basic technique of shiboriis to draw a picture on a cloth, and tie a knot tightly with a thread. Thecloth is then dyed with one or many colors. Based on the colors used andpatterns required to be created, the cloth is dyed multiple times. When thethread is unwrapped, they produce appealing designs.

This is a very labor intensive method. The special featureof shibori is a soft or blurry edged pattern which differentiates it from sharpedged finishing obtained through wax, stencil, or paste.

Kanoko Shibori

Nui Shibori

Techniques of Shibori:

  • Kanoko Shibori: This is otherwise called as tie-dye. Some part of the cloth is tied with thread or rubber bands to get the desired pattern.
  • Muira Shibori: This process uses a hooked needle and plucking sections of the cloth. The thread is not knotted, and is just looped. This gives water like design.
  • Nui Shibori: A simple running stitch is used, and then the cloth is pulled together to become tight. It is then knotted and dyed. This is a time consuming process.
  • Kumo Shibori: This is a pleated and bound technique where the cloth is bound very closely to give a spider like design.
  • Arashi Shibori: In this technique, the cloth is wrapped around a pole tightly with a thread. The cloth is then scrunched and dyed resulting in a design on a diagonal.


Craftsmen of shibori work inside their homes, making this art a unique and national treasure of the country. As this is done manually, the patterns made will look unique with every different artisan though it is done on the same material.

A Global Tradition:

Like many other arts, which were revived with globalization, shibori has inspired a modern resurgence laden with legend. Fashionable interpretations of shibori are seen all over the fashion world from local ramp shows to runways in Paris. Originally from Japan, this conventional craft is practiced all over the world. Shibori traditions have existed in the Middle East and also in the Indian subcontinent. Presently, it is followed actively in South China, West Africa, Indonesia, Himalayan region, and in the Western regions of India.

This art offers unprecedented potential in creating wide range of textures on cloth. The fine texture of the cloth, and rich sensuous colors used attract creative individuals. This wearable art with special magic and strong appeal has established itself in the world of garment and fashion.


  1. Shibori: the inventive art of Japanese shaped resist dyeing: tradition, by: Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice, and Jane Barton.
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