Art textiles

Shibori techniques for textiles with Rob Jones

Ref: SSS09878


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About this course

Working with traditional techniques create patterned fabrics and papers using Karamatsu, Mokume, Guntai, Itajime, Shine-Ire and Makiage stitch and binding methods, before dyeing with traditional Indigo, Tansy and Madder plants.

Course Description

Shibori is the Japanese word for resist dyeing of fabric. Working with a variety of traditional techniques, you will create patterned fabrics using Karamatsu, Mokume, Guntai, Itajime, Shine-Ire, Makiage and other stitching and binding methods, before dyeing with traditional Indigo, Tansy/Heather and Madder plants. Each piece of fabric will be unique, allowing for creative exploration for your own textile work.

Working with a variety of techniques and then dyeing the fabrics produces amazing textures and effects for use in textile art. Each piece of fabric will be unique, allowing for creative exploration for your own work.

You will explore a wide variety of Shibori techniques to pattern cloth using stitch, tying, clamping, pleating and wrapping, and be encouraged to try ideas of your own.

Following a recap on the basics of stitching and binding; advanced stitch techniques including traditional patterns such as Karamatsu, Mokume and Guntai as well as stitch variants Rob uses in his own work will be explored; Itajime board clamping; Shine-Ire (rope core work using a traditional shibori stand); Makiage (stitched motifs); and a selection of other techniques will also be presented. We will also look at layering techniques on top of each other and cutting and re-piecing which may appeal to textiles artists looking for a more advanced interpretation of Shibori and how to vary its use.

After preparation, your work will be dyed with indigo to produce a range of blues. If you wish to include other colours, natural dye plant vats of Tamsy or Heather flowers for yellow and Madder for red, will be available to pre-dye or over-dye fabrics. You will produce a range of fabrics to keep both as a visual record for future reference and, if you wish, towards the end of the course do some work exploring re-piecing and ways to work with your dyed fabric. Demonstrations, discussions and tutorials will be ongoing throughout the course and encouragement given on how to continue with your work at home or in your studio.

The only pre-requisite is that you’ll need to have some hand sewing skills and dexterity for using thread. Please ensure you read the To Bring section.

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival.

Special Summer School features:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short swap-over session to another course of your choice

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• A celebration dinner on the last evening

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

N.B: This workshop will focus on using an indigo dye vat for blues, the natural dye plant vats for yellow or red in line with Rob Jones’ own practice.

Please note that this course may not be suitable for those with nut allergies or sensitivity to dye plants.


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • Providing indigo, madder and tansy/heather dyes and their auxiliaries.

What students need to bring

  • Fabric: Gather a collection of plain natural cellulose fabrics to use to dye. Fabrics such as cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo and viscose (or combinations of these) work best. You can also dye silk and wool too. Threads can also be dyed. If you like to recycle fabric, consider bringing some, they often take the dye beautifully.
  • Bring 2-3 metres of cotton lawn. It will be used in the Itajime clamping and some other techniques.
  • Do not buy sheeting, it is too densely woven and will make hand stitching some of the resist techniques difficult. Pre-wash fabrics in non-biological washing product (unless they are PFD – prepared for dyeing) and dry. Do not use fabric softener.
  • Standard size round plastic bucket (it must hold more than 5 litres), if you can or a plastic tray
  • Apron and rubber gloves – wear old clothes
  • Kitchen paper, wooden stick or an old wooden spoon to stir the vat
  • Water erasable marker pen, Rob uses the Clover brand, fine tip
  • Ruler, note pad and pen and digital camera
  • A cushion. This will be used to Shin-Ire core work with a stand so make sure its comfy as you will be sitting on it.
  • Bonded nylon thread (60s) to use for tying and stitching, soft string
  • Sewing kit – scissors, needles etc.
  • If driving, you may wish to bring a large jerry can to take your indigo home with you.
  • The tutor will bring a selection of items for the class to use such as templates, pegs, clips and poles for some of the Shibori techniques. If you have any others of your own, please bring them.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Some fabrics are suitable for dyeing and are prepared for dyeing.
  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course the tutor will bring some additional fabrics for you to purchase directly from him if you wish. The cost of what you select should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course in cash.
  • Vintage French linen fabric.
  • Some mordanted fabrics and pre-dyed fabrics dyed with natural plant dyes.


Rob Jones

Rob Jones is a textile artist, who takes his inspiration from Japanese Textiles traditions including Shibori, Katagami stencilling and Sashiko embroidery and Boro. He began his study in 2011 at West Dean on short courses and then undertook an intensive course with Bryan Whitehead in Japan in the autumn of 2014. Rob has been a full time textiles designer and teacher since September 2015.


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

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