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A Brief Definition

Shibori is a Japanese term. Shibori comes from the verb root “shiboru” - to wring squeeze or press, and would be used to describe wringing out the washing or a floor cloth.
The emphasis is upon the action performed on the cloth.

Tie-dye is the popular name for shibori in the Western world. However this term does not fully describe the great diversity of techniques which have been developed or the degree of skill and knowledge required to execute them.

Yoshiko Wada defines shibori as “ The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing”, this is indeed the title of her first book on shibori.

In her new book “Memory On Cloth - Shibori Now” Wada defines shibori as any process which leaves a memory or permanent record
on the cloth - pattern or texture, via shaped resist methods.

Shibori is the act of compressing a fabric to create a resist.
Cloth records the shape and pressure that was applied to it as a pattern/texture.
It is a mechanical/structural resist.
Shibori is used as a resist when dyeing in order to create pattern.
Shibori is used in combination with heat setting on polyester in order to create a permanent texture.



Taking a 2D piece of fabric and manipulating it into 3D form through various combinations of the following:-

  • stitching and gathering
  • binding
  • clamping
  • capping (covering with a waterproof material)
  • folding
  • crumpling
  • plaiting
  • knotting
  • pinching
  • twisting

Shibori is often used in conjunction with indigo dye because of the individual properties and behaviour of this dye.



Shibori can be used in conjunction with a variety of other processes which are applied to textiles:-

+ devore (double dyeing).
+ discharge (overdyeing)
+ melt off
+ fulling/felting
+ wax reisist applied to shaped resist fabric
In addition to the above shibori pattern and texture can be created as a woven resist, usually through the use of a supplemental weft.


Many cultures have their own shaped resist techniques with their own specific terms. Shibori has become recognised as the umbrella term for all such shaped resist techniques.