In Japan, there are various types of great dyeing techniques, yet shibori or tie-dye would probably surprise many with its unique process.
The technique of tie-dye – a process of creating patterns on fabrics by tying them in a variety of ways to prevent the coloring of the tied parts – actually can be found in a number of countries, yet “Arimatsu Shibori” of Aichi Prefecture is a traditional and folksy style of tie-dye which uses simple colors such as deep blue on fabrics like cotton.
The patterns are first “drawn” by making holes in a paper template. Then the paper, which now has countless holes, is placed on a fabric, and a water-erasable dye made from the juice of an Asiatic Dayflower is applied so that it only gets through the parts where the holes are made. Its initial draft set, the fabric is now ready to be tie-dyed, and the ones with the most complicated design are sometimes handled by 4 to 5 shibori artisans. Each applies their own execution of shibori by tying the fabric minutely, with more than 10 major techniques in their repertoire. The tools and time required to complete the work vary as well.
After the shibori is done comes the most complicated step of the process. It is called itonuki, the task of unbinding the string. This requires the expertise of a skillful artisan, who is to pluck the cloth to unbind the countless shibori – the string makes a snapping sound while this happens. A little damage to the cloth would wreck everything that has been done in the process. If shibori is applied to a whole set of kimono, it might take a few days to get its itonuki done.
Because it takes so much time and effort, there were times when the technique of drawing patterns with brushes such as yuzen came to prosper more, yet Arimatsu shibori developed itself with the support of the Owari Domain, turning into one of the biggest fields of production after the 17th century. With its handmade warmth, Arimatsu shibori is used not only for kimono, but in many other products such as handkerchiefs, paper fans, lap robes, ties, scarves, clothing, aprons, table clothes, table center clothes and store curtains, giving us a sense of excitement in the everyday moments of our life.
Tie Dyeing museum
3008 Arimatsu Midori-ku Nagoya-shi Aichi-ken
Underground mall Esca
6-9 Tsubaki-cho Nakamura-ku Nagoya-shi Aichi-ken