Project Proposal

16 Jul

Metamorphosis (woven shibori)

“The development of weaving is dependent upon the development of textile fiber, spinning and dyeing, each a part of the interplay resulting in a fabric” Anni Albers on weaving.

Metamorphosis:  A change in appearance, character, condition, or function.

Shibori is the Japanese word for a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. The word comes from the verb root shiboru, “to wring, squeeze, press.” Although shibori is used to designate a particular group of resist-dyed textiles. Rather than treating cloth as a two-dimensional surface, with shibori it is given a three-dimensional form by folding, crumpling, stitching, plaiting, or plucking and twisting. Cloth shaped by these methods is secured in a number of ways, such as binding and knotting. It is the pliancy of a textile and its potential for creating a multitude of shape-resisted designs that the Japanese concept of shibori recognizes and explores.

Weaving was an art practiced in very early times. The Egyptians were especially skilled in it, and some have regarded them as its inventors. Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. In general, weaving involves using a loom to interlace two sets of threads at right angles to each other: the warp which runs vertically and the weft that crosses it. One warp thread is called an end and one weft thread is called a pick.

Change is constant and shibori and weaving have both been undergoing constant change in the way it is practiced, designs, complexity and equipment used. About two decades back they both underwent a drastic change where Catherine Ellis decided to weave in the resist stitches required for shibori and combine the two methods. The outcome is beautiful and brings about a whole new dimension to weaving, giving it a new life.

Woven shibori is the merging of weaving and surface design that is integral to the construction of the fabric. Weavers are the only ones to have access to this approach of surface designing, as the resist is a part of the weaving process.


Weaving is a technique, which does not have any element of surprise at the same time shibori is a technique, which is very unpredictable. The combination of these two techniques weaving will get the unpredictable nature of shibori introduced in it and the shibori resists will be built into the cloth instead of having to stitch it on to the fabric once it has been woven.

Woven shibori is not widely practiced in India as yet. It is a completely new technique for the Indian market. This technique will eliminate the time needed for stitching for shibori as that step is built in to the weave. It makes the process faster and gives a more even pattern than hand stitched shibori. The woven shibori can be engineered according to the need of the fashion/lifestyle accessories.




To bring together the elements of fiber, pattern, colour and texture. Woven shibori presents possibilities for using these elements in a myriad of new combinations. It’s also about trying to bring together two very diverse techniques and creating something new. At the same time remember my limitations with both the techniques. Maintain a record of every step of every experiment.

I would like to experiment with various different aspects that are integral to weaving as well as shibori like:

  • Pattern
  • Texture
  • Colour
  • Fiber

Then select the samples that work and make a collection of products for either home or fashion keeping in sync with my concept.

Technique and Materials:

Catherine Ellis has opened up a whole new world of weaving with a lot of scope for experimentation with yarn, textures, colours and patterns. Shibori and weaving are two skills I picked up during the course of my education in Srishti and to try and combine two techniques that are very different will bring in a new perspective on how I look at both of them. The stitched shibori was the inspiration for woven shibori. In traditional stitched or mokume shibori parallel rows of running stitches are sewn by hand with a needle into a piece of finished cloth. When the stitches are completed they’re used to gather the cloth tightly. Then the cloth is dyed. The folds in the cloth resist the dye to varying degrees, resembling mokume or wood grain. Woven shibori makes it possible to place the “stitches” into the cloth while it is being woven on the loom. Those “stitches” are actually supplemental warp or weft threads that may be structured as a twill or other patterns. The supplemental threads are used to gather the cloth. After that the cloth is dyed and when it is opened it reveals an image of the woven pattern and the pattern is much softer than the pattern that was woven.

A list of basic materials that I would require for my project

  • Yarn – polyester, silk, cotton, wool, linen
  • Dyes and other chemicals
  • Utensils
  • Loom (hand/power)


Research Questions:

  • What are the methods used in traditional shibori practice?
  • How has shibori evolved over the years?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of woven shibori over traditional shibori?
  • What is metamorphosis? Is there a need for it? What is it?
  • What work has already been done using woven shibori?
  • Which loom would be preferable to weave woven shibori on power or handloom?
  • How is Ikat different from woven shibori? What are the advantages/disadvantages it has over woven shibori?
  • Is there an element of unpredictability in woven shibori? What is the cause for it?
  • How does the yarn used effect the structure, feel, colour absorption and pattern formed by dyeing.
  • Which weaves are most suitable for woven shibori?
  • How best can I use my knowledge of shibori and weaving to combine them?
  • Which types of dyes are used and what are its effects on the fabric and water?
  • Sustainability of the product
  • Who is the target consumer?
  • Possibility of mass production and cost?

Learning Outcome:

  • Combining different textile techniques learnt
  • Turning the fabric that I have created into well finished products
  • Follow the principles and elements of art and design
  • Experiment with a relatively new technique
  • To be able to derive ideas from various perspectives
  • Implement my skills to my advantage­
  • Understanding the market­­­

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