Isabella Whitworth

probably more than natural and synthetic dyes, wax, resists, and history



Most of my work is made using resist-dyed techniques. Resist-dyeing is any technique where the dye is in some way impeded from reaching selected areas of the fabric (or yarn, as in ikat). One way it can be achieved is by sewing, tying, binding, folding, and clamping; those of us who remember any of the 1960s used to call it tie dye. These days most people call it shibori, which is a Japanese word covering this large and wonderful family of techniques. Shibori techniques are superb for use with indigo.


Gutta and fluid resist work

Another resist technique involves covering the cloth or fibre with a substance that prevents dye from reaching it. Batik uses wax to do this, applied through a traditional tool called a tjanting or with stamps or brushes. In Africa, cassava paste is used and in Japan rice flour. Silk painters use a variety of resist fluids applied via a small metal nozzle or nib attached to a squeezy tube.

I use shibori and fluid or wax resist techniques with both synthetic and natural dyes but I never mix both types of dye. More about each technique can be seen on the natural dye and steam-fixed dye for silk  pages.  

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