Jemima tells us her home dyeing techniques for her unique textiles. Especially in a overpopulated city like Hong Kong, it's hard to believe that all of these beautiful designs can be created at home.........
When I was in university studying textile design, we learnt about the Japanese method for dyeing fabrics, this process really captured my mind, for its mesmerising and abstract patterning. This technique is all about creating a resist on the fabric, so that when it is immersed in dye, some sections of the fabric will not take on the dye colour. The resist might be in the form of stitching, pleating, folding, scrunching or wrapping, the possibilities and patterning is endless. I have experimented with things that I have found around my home; sewing with waxed twine, clothes pegs, clamping with bulldog clips, binding to wood. Other variations can be achieved by playing with the tightness of the binding and also what fabrics are used. For example a thin cotton fabric that has been pre-washed will take on colour very quickly but a heavy linen will take more time.
Arashi shibori, also known as pole-wrapping shibori
I really love this technique, but it is very time consuming. The cloth is wrapped on a diagonal around a pole. Then the cloth is very tightly bound by wrapping thread up and down the pole. Next, the cloth is scrunched on the pole. The result is a pleated cloth with a design on a diagonal. "Arashi" is the Japanese word for storm. The patterns are always on a diagonal in arashi shibori which suggest the driving rain of a heavy storm.
Another very simple technique that I love to employ is just simply, dip dyeing with a ready made cushion or tablecloth. I will put the first quarter of the fabric into the dye for 20 mins, then the next quarter for another 20 mins and finally i will put in the next quarter in for another 20 mins. (I usually have about 5 dye buckets on the go so i’m not just sitting around in between !) The result is a beautifully graduated depth of colour or ombre effect with the dye. The watermarks are often uneven, like the tide washing up on the sand of a beach. I always like to leave a bit of the raw fabric to balance the composition of the finished piece and to highlight the hand dyed process.
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