What is Arishi Shibori?

No, its not a spy from Japan, not is it a strange disease.  It is the name of the style of dying fabric that involves a piece of pvc pipe, some type of string, and a large amount of fabric.

Arashi (storm) is the name given by the Japanese to resist-dye patterns created using an ingenious process of wrapping cloth around a pole, compressing it into folds, and dyeing it. Many of the resulting diagonal patterns suggest rain driven by a strong wind. The particular subtle quality of the patterns is fully revealed only in a length of cloth.

This process was first invented in the late nineteenth century for production of shibori in much greater quantities than was possible with traditional hand processes. Taking advantage of the fact that a bolt of kimono cloth is narrow and long (14 inches by 12 yards), the artisan wraps the kimono cloth around a twelve-foot-long pole, winds a thread around the cloth on the pole, and pushes the cloth into tight small crinkles. Eventually, four to six bolts of kimono cloth may be scrunched up on the pole to be dyed all at once, when the entire pole is dipped into a dye vat.

Contemporary textile artists enjoy the broad gestures involved in this technique and appreciate being able to produce these fine patterns on larger quantities of fabric with less detailed work. Many have successfully adapted the original process using a shorter length of plastic pipe and manually turning the pipe or winding the threads by hand. They have capitalized on the fine pleated textures inherent in arashi which become part of the finished surface and contribute to the sculptural qualities of many wearable art garments.

I will be teaching a class on Saturday, June 20th at Woolfest, an event sponsored by Lake Farm Parks, and a lovely opportunity to find and purchase all things fiber… from roving to amazing yarns, spindles, hooks, needles, and everything you could imagine.


My project will be a 4 ft by 4 ft piece of silk that has been hemmed.  Class participants will be binding their silk on a pvc pipe, using dental floss.  The binding time will required 2 people – 1 holding the piece on the pipe, the other tightly wrapping it to the pole with the dental floss.  We will be applying dye, drying it, and steaming the silk.  Once steamed the silk is ready for ironing and wearing.  Arishi can remain rippled and unironed… some people prefer this.  I like my silk smoothed and ironed flat.


If you are interested in taking the class which is Saturday, June 22 please click on the link below for the listing of the classes and registration process: