The play of color on fabric, to create unique patterns in enticing shades. Dyed fabric painting is indeed one of the most appealing styles of painting. It is also perhaps the most unpredictable and hence the most versatile, because a large part of the process of painting is not controlled by the artist himself.
He can resist the movement of color, but he cannot control it. What we have, then, is a harmony of hues, with a will of their own.
There are several styles in which fabric may be dyed, and each of these has become and independent type of painting.
As the name suggests, in the process of tie-dye, portions of the fabric are tied with strings or rubber bands, after it folded in a particular manner. When the fabric is dyed, the protected portions remain uncolored, thus creating beautiful patterns. Some of the most common designs created are the spiral, bulls-eye, striped, ‘V’ shape or a random pattern.
The process of dyeing the fabric may involve dipping the cloth in a tub of dye; in this case, the process is called dip-dyeing. Or the fabric may be dyed by squirting the color, spraying it, or using a brush. In this case, the process is called direct application.
One particular tradition of the tie-dye form of dyed fabric painting, is Shibori.
Shibori is the Japanese form of tie-dye painting. It involves stitching, binding, folding, or compressing the fabric, to resist the dye, and create patterns. In the traditional shibori style, called arashi shibori, a narrow and long kimono cloth is wound around a 12 ft long wooden pole. This cloth is then wound with a thread. When it is scrunched and compressed on the pole, the thread creates creases on the cloth. This cloth is then dyed on the pole, in a large vat. Depending on how tight and how many times the cloth is bound, or the manner in which it is drawn up and puckered, different motifs are created. In kanoko shiburi, the cloth is puckered using the fingertips or nails or a small hook. The other forms of shibori are suji (pleated), nui (stitch resist), miura (looped), kumo (pleated and bound resist).