Shibori is trendy, versatile, and tons of fun, especially if you have Elizabeth McTear as your guide! Elizabeth works with natural dyes that are safe for you and the environment, and she’ll teach you to do the same in her new video, Natural Shibori: Itajime. Here’s Elizabeth herself to share what you can expect to learn about itajime shibori in her new video! ~Andrea
My name is Elizabeth McTear and I’m the artist, designer, and natural dyer behind Honest Alchemy. I live and work in Germantown, Philadelphia. Honest Alchemy is my full time job as well as a place for me to experiment, test, and challenge myself. I have a well-developed background in the arts, with a BFA in Textile Design from Moore College of Art & Design.
However, until a few years ago, I had never worked with natural dyes. In an effort to combine my passion for fibers and textiles with my desire to operate as ethically and sustainably as possible, I started working with organic indigo dye and have slowly added other natural colors to my repertoire.
I currently produce work for my shop, wholesale and custom fabrics for private clients, as well as collaborative collections for larger national brands.
What is Itajime Shibori?
Itajime is a fascinating shibori process. Shibori itself is the art of squeezing a fabric to create a mark. Itajime shibori in particular is the art of folding and clamping the fabric to build patterning. Much can be done with this seemingly simple process, the basic starting points of which are explored in my new video, Natural Shibori: Itajime.
You’ll learn some tips and tricks for folding the fabric and choosing your clamping materials, and how those factors influence the outcome. These are the building blocks to start creating your own unique pieces of fabric.
Hopefully, the video will spur you to look at various objects in new ways, with the potential of how they could be clamped around fabrics for your own projects.
What Can I Do with Itajime Shibori?
Once you’ve built up a fun stash of fabrics (and please experiment with different weights and weaves!), you’ll be able to apply these dyeing techniques to various projects.
I myself have made projects including scarves, pillows, table runners, napkins, zip pouches, bags, and more with shibori-marked fabrics. I’ve even upholstered thrift store stools and kitchen chairs with fabrics I’ve dyed, giving new life to old things with a personal touch of my own creativity.
Play, experiment, and you’ll find whole new ways to build your artistic practice and apply your creativity to your daily life.
Elizabeth McTear lives and works in Germantown, Pennsylvania, where she works on utilitarian art for the everyday. She uses 100% natural fibers and plant-based and green dyes and pigments. She is the instructor in the videos Natural Shibori: Arashi and Natural Shibori: Itajime.