|Hanging shibori fabric. Image by Katie, courtesy ofWikipedia|
1) I know, I know. What’s with Root Simple and all this Japanese stuff? I don’t know!
2) This is less a post than a plan. I’m going to tell you all my plan so I can’t get lazy, back out, and watch Netflix instead of working. As I execute this plan, I’ll post some more and so hopefully will share some useful information with you along the way,
The plan is in three parts:
Part the First: I’m going to make natural dyes using common plants like red cabbage and sour grass, following the instructions in The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes: Personalize Your Craft with Organic Colors from Acorns, Blackberries, Coffee, and Other Everyday Ingredients by Sasha Duerr. It’s a gorgeous little book and very inspirational–we’ll see if the instructions work.
Part the Second: I will apply these dyes to fabric using shibori techniques. Shibori is the art of dying fabric using pattern making techniques like folding, binding and stitching the fabric prior to soaking it in the dye bath. It’s super-classy Japanese tie dye. Except common tie dye is to shibori as this post is to a Shakespeare sonnet.
I just got a book which is supposed to be the classic text on shibori from the library: Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing. It’s an encyclopedia of all the (many, many) shibori techniques–with how-to’s– and lots of photos of mind-blowingly gorgeous old textiles. As a bonus, in the appendix they tell you how to mix up your own indigo dye.
The shibori cloth crafted by ancient Japanese artisans is maybe just a little beyond my skill set. However, at Honestly… WTF you can see the nice results that crafty people get when they try their hand with some basic shibori techniques.
Part the Third: I will sew this fabric up into cocktail napkins, something along the lines of the napkins in this post on Design Sponge. We need cocktail napkins so I don’t have to keep buying paper napkins when we have groups at our house, and more importantly, to reintroduce myself to the sewing machine. Technically I know how to sew, but I’ve never been very good at it, and now I’m so rusty I’ll be lucky to remember how thread the machine. The napkins will remind me how to sew in a straight line.
Here’s the challenge: By May 15th (1 month plus a few extra days because I have to travel) I have to be able to show you some finished shibori-dyed cocktail napkins. And there will be how-to posts along the way. Or posts relating disasters.
If anyone has tips on foraged dyes, shibori or cocktail napkin techniques, please do chime in.