I found a blog last week that I’ve been meaning to write about but I just couldn’t figure out where to start with it. The first descriptive that comes to mind is “an amazing display of intellectual generosity” but that doesn’t tell you anything. The blog is Entwinements from Karren Brito, author of Shibori, Creating Color & Texture on Silk. Karren is a multi-faceted fiber artist who most recently -well, since 1990- has specialized in shibori pleating. And you know we like pleating in these parts. Here is a sample of her work; a “feather” scarf. I’m not cropping this photo; I don’t know which is more beautiful, the model or the scarf.
Karren’s blog is a visual feast of color and technique. She has quite a few tutorials if you’re interested in learning the process. Many fiber artists don’t do much pattern work; they’ll tie and dye a length of fabric and call it good. Karren’s work is more complicated than that, probably owing to her background (she used to teach chemistry at Antioch). In the tutorial of the Sting Ray dress (there are several parts) she takes visitors step by step through the process of creating it, first by draping, then cutting a pattern (quite complex too), making and applying the shibori guide, on through completion. It’s quite a work of engineering. Another tutorial I found interesting was about capped shibori. Capped shibori involves handstitching a shaped pattern and covering it with plastic (much more complicated than I’ve described it) before it is dyed. Below is a finished sample.
On her blog, Karren also features other shibori artists in addition to providing links and resources for dyes and materials. Her site is still new so she doesn’t have a search feature that will help you with site navigation but I’m sure she’ll get to that when she can. In the meantime, you’ll just have to browse. No doubt you’ll agree there are worse ways to spend your time. I’ve included two more samples of her work. I just love the colors. Below is a “feather star scarf”. Before pleating, it was 4 yards long.
Her newest scarf style she calls quetzalcoatl, her description reads
This is a long skinny scarf, it is a double layer of double pleated arashi shibori. The silk is sheer, matte finished soft organza–still light weight but the colors are more intense because of the matte finish. The colors look very Caribbean. The long feather-pleated scarf looks like a snake covered in feathers. Hence the name. QUETZALCOATL is the plumed serpent god of the Aztecs and their ancestors. I think this god gave these peoples chocolate and I hope the name is a good omen for those who wear the quetzalcoatl.
I hope you enjoy and learn from Karren’s site. You can read about her business here.