Exclusive Shibori from Kyoto

We are very pleased to have a range of fantastic shibori wall hangings and table runners from master textile artist Kiyoe Masao.

  Photo: Kiyoe-san prepares his dye in his Kyoto studio

Shibori involves dyeing a fabric so that only part of the fabric is dyed. The parts that aren't dyed are arranged to give a pattern. Parts of the fabric may be stitched to prevent dyeing . Other methods such as folding or twisting or capping the fabric are also used so that some areas of the fabric will resist dyeing.

 Photo: Getting to grips with the home grown dye material

Kiyoe-san uses a wide variety of shibori techniques to make his designs. Many years ago, when we first saw Kiyoe-san's fabrics we wondered "how did he do that"? Later we found out that he is a master of the most complex Kyoto shibori method of "bucket" dyeing.  This technique, along with the more usual shibori methods, allows Kiyoe-san to produce a range of stunning shibori work 


              photo: Kiyoe-san's famous bucket sees some action                                                                      

Shibori is typified by the use of indigo dyes which give the fabrics a blue appearance. However, other dye materials can also be used.

Kiyoe-san uses both indigo and "kaki" (persimmon fruit) as raw materials for his dyes. The persimmon fruit gives a very warm and natural colour that varies between mustard and brown. The quality of the dye is very important to Kiyoe-san. To be sure of a consistent and natural dye supply Kiyoe-san takes a very hands-on approach - he makes his own dyes using his own indigo plants and kaki trees! Water quality is also critical to top quality shibori dyeing. Consequently, Kiyoe-san took matters into his own hands and dug his own water well.

Photo: A large indigo dyed hanging by Kiyoe-san

We began buying Kiyoe-san's work in 2003 as we were just blown away by his artistry. Only later did we appreciate the extreme technical control needed to make the work and his personal involvement in "sourcing" his raw materials.

  You can see Kiyoe-san's work in our Shibori Gallery and you can buy it in our Online Shibori Shop.