Muswell Hill Creatives – Rob Jones, shibori textiles designer.

Muswell Hill Creatives – Rob Jones, shibori textiles designer.


Shibori is a Japanese resist technique using
stitch methods, binding, pole binding traditionally dyed with indigo, but you can also use natural
dyes and other dyes as well. I first discovered Shibori at West Dean College
outside Chichester, somewhere I go to short classes and I had gone down to do a jewellery
class, because I do that as a hobby and I was looking through the brochure and saw this
Shibori and indigo dying class and thought that sounds quite interesting, I’ve always
been quite fascinate with Japan. I decided to just go along and try it out, it was revelation I just totally fell in love with the whole thing The thing I enjoy most about Shibori is the huge variety of patterns that you can make with
it. I like to use some of the traditional Japanese patterns but I also like to stretch things by inventing my stitches and applying it in different ways. I’m quite taken with
patterns that you find in nature. The stripes that you get in driving rain, or patterns you get in a leaf, or the bark of a tree. And also things like the constellation in
the night sky the patterns of stars, so those kind of things often kickstart something in
my head. I often find I get lost in Shibori really
because when you’re stitching something and it’s often quite repetitive, you just get
into a rhythm with it and just quite a peaceful thing to do. Shibori’s quite traditionally used with indigo, which is a really magical dye because when
you’re making a vat and you’ve dyed your fabrics there is wonderful colour reaction which happens
when you take the fabric out of the dye you have this acid yellow colour and it turns through
a green colour into the traditional indigo blue right before your eyes. One of the things I really like about Shibori is unpredictability of it, so you know what
patterns you’re going to get but you never quite now exactly how the patterns going to
look. And when you unpick to reveal you work, that’s when it all comes to life and that’s
the exciting bit. I get a lot of pleasure out of making a finished
item out of the fabrics so its not just about designing that patterns and dying the fabrics
its also about what I turn them into afterwards. I also use patch work techniques to break
up some of the patterns and change them into different things. And when you’ve made a complete piece like a lamp shade or a cushion and thought you
can then see that in somebodies living room where they’re proudly telling them people,
‘Oh yes this is my shibori cushion that I got from this new designer in Muswell Hill’
that’s quite exciting for me.

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