World Shibori Network

Celebrating the visual languages of PEOPLE, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, and ENVIRONMENT through the global practice of resist-dye traditions and innovations, keeping in mind authenticity, reciprocity, and networking.

As Tradition


Japan traditional

Japan traditional

The Japanese shibori dyer works in concert with the material, not in effort to overcome its limitations. An element of the unexpected is always present. All the variables attendant upon shaping the cloth serve to remove some human control from the shibori process.

An analogy is that of a potter firing a wood-burning kiln. All the technical conditions have been met, but what happens in the kiln may be a miracle or a disaster. Chance and accident also give life to the shibori process, and this contributes to its special magic and strongest appeal.

Traditional Japanese Techniques
Master Katano Motohiko


Three terms for separate shibori methods have come into international usage: plangi, bandhani and tritik. Plangi is a Malay-Indonesian word for the process of gathering and binding cloth; bandhani, an Indian term for the process of plucking and binding cloth in small points; and tritik, a Malay-Indonesian word for stitch resist. However, these three terms represent only two of the major shibori techniques.

Many different types of shibori techniques have existed in the world. The oldest examples: pre-Columbian shibori alpaca found in Peru and silk found in 4th c. tombs along the Silk Road in China. Shibori traditions existed for centuries in the Middle East and in the Indian subcontinent. Presently, active production continues in western Africa, in southern China by minority people, and in the western regions of India. A lesser degree of production continues in northern Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, and in the Himalayan region.

The materials and methods found in different shibori traditions vary widely, reflecting environmental, economic, and social specificities. The fibers may come from alpaca in the highlands of the Andes, sheep in the Himalayas, cotton grown in southwestern China, or from abaca grown in the jungle of the Philippines. The basic concept of shaped resist dyeing is apparent throughout a wide range of aesthetics, which are manifestations of cultural diversity.

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