Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Crafter's Way 126 - Shibori Unbound

Here is this week's Messenger column. If you are in the area make sure you have a look at this exhibition.

Shibori Unbound

The Pine Rivers Art Gallery has two exciting exhibitions running concurrently. Both have a decidedly Japanese flavour to them. Shibori Unbound is a shibori textile exhibition by Margaret Barnett. Japonphile is an exhibition of ceramics by Kimio Takahashi combined with an exhibition of Ikebana by Kimio Takahashi and John Baxter. Both Exhibitions run from 7th February through to 27th March.

What exactly is shibori? Shibori is the Japanese word that encompasses all the techniques that Westerners refer to as ‘tie dye’. Margaret Barnett was first exposed to Shibori in the early 1980’s while studying textiles. Margaret had just finished the Surface Design Unit when ‘Shibori’ a book by Wada/Barton/Rice was published. This book researched the Japanese Shibori techniques, many of which have been lost. Margaret recalls “I'd just bought the 4 foot floor loom - 8 shaft of course - and BANG Shibori took over my life. Floor loom is still wrapped in cardboard.... I was fascinated with the fact that you could do a bit of stitching/tyeing/ clamping on fabric, toss it in to a dyepot and have magnificent patterns emerge when it was untied.”

In 1992 the first World Shibori Symposium was held in Nagoya, Japan.These Symposiums have continued around the world with Margaret having attended 6. Margaret began patterning fabric for clothing. Her interest in the 3D aspect of the Shibori began early 1990’s and she has worked with banana fibre and paper as well as special Japanese fabrics. Drawing on her love of the Space, the Shapes and the Silence of the Australian Landscape, Barnett fashions fabric into 2D hangings and 3D sculptures.

Margaret’s artist talk on the 27th February will concentrate on the fabrics and what inspired her to make this body of work. In the 2.5 hour Masterclass on 6th March Margaret will be giving each participants a piece of silk and metal fabric and will be show 2 of the stitching techniques to shape that fabric - this shape could be a brooch or a mobile or attached to a hair comb.

I will leave the last word to Margaret when asked what advice would you give somebody who wanted to try shibori? “Buy a book. There are many books now on 'quick' contemporary shibori techniques. Then begin to experiment - do not be afraid of what you may consider 'failures'. So many of my 'failures' are now art pieces. Go for it!

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