Itajime - Clamp dyed Shibori explained

Itajime is a Japanese method of resist-dyeing fabric, where the fabric is pleated and compressed between two solid blocks of wood. The wood pieces are held in place using a clamp or tied together with sticks, this treatment of the fabric often reveals a bold and geometric design, very different from the fluid lines of Arashi, the pole tying technique.

With Itajime, the design on one section of the cloth is repeated multiple times as a result of the pleating and folding. Therefore, the more pleats you have, the more intricate the design will be. This technique works best on thin fabric for this very reason. However that is not to say that it cannot be applied to thick fabric as well, the effects will just be different. So often, what you see on a stole most likely cannot be replicated on upholstery.

The pressure applied to the fabric also plays an important role, for crisp lines the pressure must be more, and for fuzzy lines, the pressure must be less. That is the true beauty of techniques like Itajime, there is a lot of back and forth between the artist and the technique. Much like ones handwriting, the final piece is unique to that artist because of the way he or she manipulated and dyes the fabric.

Once you explore and experiment with Shibori, it is easy to see why each piece that is made has a character of its own,in my experience, the pieces that are the hardest to recreate are often the most appealing.