Art textiles

Adventures with shibori – pattern and design, indigo and natural dyes with Jane Callender

Ref: S4D08897

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About this course

Immerse yourself in wonderful shibori pattern and design possibilities. Using natural, synthetic and organic indigo vats, delight also in natural dye colour. Work with itajime, cylinder wrapping, binding and stitching and with de-gumming and discharge techniques to produce inspiring silk and cotton shibori textiles.

Course Description

This course aims to empower students to work the multifaceted art form that is 'shibori' with confidence and impart a thorough understanding of indigo, indigo dyeing and the use of selected natural dyes. To bring about a further dynamic to pattern, complimentary methods such as de-gumming and discharge on black fabric will be included.

The tutor will show how to create various shibori resists for motifs, to effect pattern and design on natural fibre fabrics. Pattern planning is discussed and the production of a larger fabric piece for a specific project can be considered with guidance from the tutor

Four different vats will be available; synthetic, natural, a tint vat and an organic fruit vat providing opportunity to exploit their exceptional dye capabilities. A selection of natural dyes, depending on availability, will ensure lively ideas and collections to take home

The tutor will have samples on hand to study and larger pieces of shibori will be to hand with callishibori stencils and stitching thread available for use. The tutor will demonstrate techniques throughout the course. Also included are one-to-one tutorials, group discussion and feedback sessions. Jane's emphasis will be on the details that make the difference.

Techniques include stitch resist, Itajime, (board clamping) and Bomaki shibori (cylinder wrapping), including Arashi, and binding. Learn how to engineer them in isolation and in combination with stitch to create unique pieces. A time of personal observation, interpretation and study brings the course to a close.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Fabrics: 100% silk such as habotai or pongee for wrapping and clamping techniques and cotton lawn or poplin for stitching. Include other weights and textures to try. Consider muslin, light weight linen, etc. (N.B. Heavy calico and old sheeting are not suitable). Bring a minimum of 3 metres of silk and 3 metres of cotton fabrics. These don't have to be all of the same weight. Please note: Fabric should be scoured at home in preparation for the mordant baths prior to natural dye use - please see information below for preparation guidelines and recipe on how to do this.
  • Two or three balls of strong string for wrapping techniques, consider different gauges.
  • Sewing kit to include needles including some finer needles such as embroidery 7/8/9 and fine pointed scissors or a 'quick un-pick' tool are also useful.
  • Washable fabric marker pen. These are available from good haberdashers. Not transfer pens or ones that fade. Washable children's felt-tip pens are an alternative to the washable marker pens.
  • Medium to large safety pins, a few pairs of old stockings or tights
  • Sewing machine if desired (a college machines can be used if required)
  • A bucket and plastic bags
  • Please bring protective clothing or wear old clothes and rubber gloves. Old covered in shoes must be worn when using hot dye baths.

Available to buy

  • Cotton lawn fabric and muslin
  • Silk fabrics - Habotai and other fine silk, including silk organza
  • Pins, a range of sewing needles and quick un-pick tools
  • Water-soluble marker pens specifically for fabric
  • Masking tape, string , rulers and set squares
  • The tutor will supply all the dyes, mordants, auxiliary chemicals and stitching thread. As some dyes depend on availability and others on usage, expect to pay the tutor directly for what you use during the course - this cost will be between £25 - £50 per person. The tutor will also have a limited amount of black discharge cotton, stencils and thread available for purchase.

Instructions for fabric preparation (to be done in advance of the course):

It is essential to scour fabric prior to using natural dyes. A basic recipe for yardage is given below for cotton and silk.

Washing Machine Method for Yardage Cotton - Use the hottest wash program on the washing machine. Add half to three quarters cup of soda ash or a full cup of pure washing soda on top of the fabric in the drum. Do not use fabric conditioner. One wash is suitable for Fabric Prepared for Dyeing. Give an unprepared heavier cotton or dirty coton two washes.

Silk - Set the washing machine on a regular to cooler cycle. Add a tiny amount - barely a teaspoon, of fabric detergent (synthrapol/manutex) or 45 grams of pure soap. Some silks may benefit from a very weak, (pH 7/8) warm washing soda soak, try 5-10 minutes, turning gently. Rinse thoroughly.

Please note: do not use standard washing powders for scouring. For a more detailed information sheet please contact the Bookings Office email:

Mordanting will be done on the course.


Jane Callender

Jane is an award-winning shibori artist using indigo, natural and fibre reactive dyes. Jane is a freelance international speaker and tutor (Japan, USA, Australia) with over 30 years' experience. The inventor of the callishibori stencil, she is also the author of Stitched Shibori and 2000 Pattern Combinations, also published in Japan. She trained at WSCASD, Farnham.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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