An Introduction to Shibori


A Bit of History

In Japan, the earliest known example of cloth dyed with a shibori technique dates from the 8th century. Until the 20th century, not many fabrics and dyes were in widespread use in Japan. The main fabrics were silk and hemp, and later cotton. The main dye was indigo and, to a lesser extent, madder and purple root. There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for shibori, and each way results in very different patterns.


"Arashi" is the Japanese word for storm. Arashi shibori is also known as pole-wrapping shibori. The cloth is wrapped on a diagonal around a pole. Then the cloth is very tightly bound by wrapping thread up and down the pole. Next, the cloth is scrunched on the pole. The result is a pleated cloth with a design on a diagonal. The patterns are always on a diagonal in Arashi shibori which suggests the driving rain of a heavy storm.


Itajime shibori is a shaped-resist technique. Traditionally, the cloth is sandwiched between two pieces of wood, which are held in place with string. More modern textile artists can be found using shapes cut from acrylic or plexiglass and holding the shapes with C-clamps. The shapes prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric they cover.


Place a piece of rope in the centre of the fabric you wish to dye, roll the fabric up into a ‘sausage’,
then stitch the roll-up with a running stitch. Pull the ends of the rope together and tie tightly, then dye the fabric. The emerging pattern is a ‘honeycomb’ type effect.

The Concertina Fold

When folding the fabric to prepare for binding, use a concertina fold, folding the fabric back on itself lengthwise, then either into squares or triangles. The concertina fold ensures that the maximum amount of dye reaches the most amount of fabric. To make the folds even more exact, steam iron them before clamping and dyeing.

Clamping, folding & binding

A number of everyday household items can be used when clamping and binding the fabric:

  • String
  • Elastics
  • Bull-dog clips
  • Cardboard shapes
  • Tongue-depressors/ice-cream sticks
  • Kebab sticks
  • Tin lids

Contemporary Shibori Artists

A few of my favourite shibori artist are:

For more shibori related posts, you can have a look over here...



Looking Back at 2017

Looking back over 2017, it was a year of 'more of the same' as well as a year of many 'firsts'. I really got serious about blogging in 2017 and committed, for the most part, to blog regularly on topics relating to Squarespace web design, Digital DIY, photography and creativity. I designed and put together a bunch more websites in 2017 with rather diverse clients ranging from specialist surgeons to explosives companies (how's that for variety!?)


Here are some of my highlights from 2017... 

1 | Getting serious about blogging

Half-way through 2017, I set a goal of blogging twice weekly, especially on topics relating to Squarespace. If you've ever attempted blogging consistently you'll understand what a challenge this can be. On top of web design work, and other projects on the go, blogging can take up a significant amount of time. I'm proud to say I (mostly) stayed on the bandwagon and managed to create quite a lot of new content on the topics of digital DIY, Squarespace, photography and creativity.

Some of my most popular posts this year were:

2 | Creativity interviews

Inspired by a conversation with an artist friend, Amy van den Bergh, I launched a series of interviews with South African creatives who had taken part (or were busy with) an ongoing creative challenge. It was such a privilege to interview painters, interior designers, writers, musicians, illustrators and photographers about their creative process. I am so grateful to everyone who took the time not only to answer my questions, but to open up about their journey into creativity. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year! 

We chatted about letting go of perfectionism, how to write a novel in a month, the importance of practice, and the ebb and flow of creativity, among other things. If you're interested in reading more on this series, here is a summary post of all the interviews. 

3 | A year of photography firsts

Armed with the first DSLR I've ever owned and with much encouragement from family and friends (especially Sophie), last year I photographed my first maternity shoot, first wedding, first family shoot, first portrait shoot, and my first interiors shoot! I'm so grateful to everyone who trusted me enough to take pictures of their special occasions, their kids, dogs and homes! I'm looking forward to leaning into a bit more photography in this new year - especially interiors and a bit of food photography! 

Here are a selection of images from all the 'first' shoots from 2017.

4 | Launching new Squarespace websites

I was fortunate to work on over 20 websites this year, with a range of incredibly diverse clients from Cape Town to Edinborough, and from the Karoo to Christchurch, New Zealand! With each client I've learned something new about: managing timelines, the client process, expectations on both sides, and about myself! I've gained new knowledge, read like crazy, partnered with graphic designers, honed my organisational processes, and spent many hours on Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp calls and the good old telephone making sure we were on the right track. There have been days I've felt totally stumped, completely clueless and supremely overwhelmed, and other days when I've felt like it was just a walk in the park! I've leave you to guess which days were more common.

There really is something so rewarding about working with someone to take their business concept, creative project, food blog or community project from concept to reality by launch an online home.   

Here are a few of the Squarespace sites that were launched this year...

5 | Creative Workshops

In partnership with Artisan's Republik I taught a number of creative workshops this year from Shibori (Japanese indigo dyeing) to Mobile Photography to Blogging. I really love teaching workshops, and the Shibori workshops, in particular, were just delightful! On more than one occasion the participants were so excited they started dyeing their own clothes, right then and there. After another workshop, everyone wanted to leave early to get to the fabric shop to buy more material so they could go home and keep on dyeing things!

I'd love to host (and attend, for that matter!) more creative workshops this year, specifically related to small business, digital DIY and creativity. I have a few ideas in mind, but am still mulling over them! I'll be sure to share more on my blog, as well as on Instagram and Facebook as the year unfolds.

I'd love to hear from you! Are there workshops you'd be interested in attending, blog post topics you'd like to read more of? Drop a comment here, I'm all ears. 


Shibori Workshop

Shibori, the Japanese art of binding, clamping, and folding fabric before dyeing in indigo, is a fun, and totally non-intimidating way to get your creative juices flowing. There really is no 'wrong' way to prepare your fabric, and the results are fabulous. I loved facilitating this workshop with a bunch of ladies in Amanzimtoti this last weekend. In partnership with Artisans Republik and Not Sheep Boutique, we spent the morning drinking great coffee, playing with fabric, and getting completely carried away in the process of dyeing. 

Shibori Workshop

I ran a little 'Intro to Shibori' workshop yesterday at @artisansrepublik studio. The best part is always unbundling the cloth to see what's taken shape. Even better is seeing someone else's face when they try it for the first time. 

I wrote a bit more about it on Steller.

Shibori in South Africa

Yes, its true, I'm somewhat obsessed with shibori, the Japanese art of resist dyeing with indigo. So I did some snooping around to see who, if anyone, is working with this bold indigo technique in South Africa. Here's what I found...

A Shibori Quilt

Since the beginning of this year I've been experimenting with shibori, a style of resist dyeing with indigo which originates in Japan. It is a really rewarding way of working with fabric, with some really fascinating results.

My Indigo Obsession

There's something inexplicably beautiful about working with fabric. Over the past few months I've been experimenting with cotton, linen, twill and other blends to see how they respond to the combination of resist clamping and indigo dye known as shibori.