Indian Bandhani & Japanese Shibori: Traditional Techniques & Contemporary Fusion

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Candace Whalen | 0 Comments

Inspired by Japanese shibori, Indian bandhani artisans are creating exciting new looks in hand-dyed fabrics.
Cotton Fabrics Made In India
With Japanese Shibori Influence
Bandhani (also called bandhej or tie-dying) is a traditional, Indian, resist-dying technique.  The most familiar method, which produces small or large dots, involves plucking and tying sections of fabric.  The tied fabric is then dyed, and the result is a spotted design.  Complexity may be added by using multiple dye baths or tying small dots in a way that forms an image.  Bandhani tie-dying is historic.  It was mentioned in 6th century literature, and pictures of ladies wearing bandhani fabric may be seen in 5th century murals.
Fabrics With Traditional Bandhani Designs
The earliest examples of the Indian tie-dye technique known as lahariya date from the nineteenth century.  The fabric is rolled diagonally into a coil, tied at regular intervals, and then dyed.  When unrolled, the result is a diagonally striped fabric.  Lahariya means waves, and this pattern is especially popular for clothing during the monsoon season.
Lahariya Fabric As A Coil, Unrolled, & Ironed Flat
Mothara is similar to lahariya but involves an additional step in the process.  The lahariya is again rolled into a coil—this time at a 90 degree angle to the original—tied and dyed again.  Now when the fabric is unrolled, it displays the subtle plaid or checked design, which is the defining characteristic of mothara.
Like dotted bandhani, lahariya and mothara designs can be made more complex and multicolored with multiple dye baths.
Fabrics With Mothara Designs
Japanese Shibori
Japan has its own rich history of resist dying, known as shibori.  One of the shibori techniques is similar to the bandhani dots, but there are many, many more.  Not only tied, the fabric may also be clamped, pleated and stitched before dying, thus producing an enormous range of designs.
Global Fusion
Resist dying traditions have developed all over the world.  In addition to Japan and India, numerous countries in Central and South Asia, Africa, and South America have similar fabric histories.  Recognizing this, the first International Shibori Symposium was held in Nagoya, Japan in 1992 and the second in Ahmedabad, India in 1997.  Cross cultural influences, which had started in the 1960's, accelerated.  In India, a few bandhani artisans began to incorporate some Japanese shibori techniques into their work.
Today, while the country's historic patterns remain popular in India, some craftspeople continue to experiment with Japanese-influenced designs, creating traditionally handcrafted fabrics with a contemporary, global feel.  Some of these closely resemble the elegant and restrained Japanese patterns, but many exhibit an exuberance of form and color that is purely Indian.
Traditional Japanese-Style Shibori On Cotton
Made In India
Combining Bandhani & Shibori On An Indian Wool Shawl
Folded Silk Shibori
Made In India
Cotton Fabrics Made In India
With Japanese Shibori Influence
Availability Of Indian Shibori Fabrics
Indian shibori and other hand-crafted fabrics may be found in our ebay store.
Resources For Information On Indian and Japanese Textiles
Gillow, John, and Nicholas Barnard.  Traditional Indian Textiles.  London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1991.
Hatanaka, Kokyo.  Textile Arts Of India.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996.
Wada, Yoshiko Iwamoto.  Memory On Cloth: Shibori Now.  Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd., 2002.

Posted in diy, fabric, home decor

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