The amazing thing was she was talking to me in English. Her English is better than any other Japanese person I’ve met here. She is an art student at the university and we continued talking while the Neko-chan nibbled. Her area is textiles and her senior project is shibori! Shibori is a Japanese reistence dying technique. I’ve been fascinated by it for ages. I had a wonderful book in the US, but it had to be left behind.
My new friend, Miwako, invited me to the university lab to see what she is working on. I was thrilled. She is trying out various colors and patterns and will later dye fabric to be made into a kimono for her senior project.
After showing me around the lab and explaining various projects in the works there, she gave me a piece of cotton fabric to try it myself. First, I stitched around and pulled it up tight. Next, I tied up some circles. When the fabric was all tied up, we put the fabric pieces in some water for 30 minutes.
Her fabric pieces were numbered and she kept a record of all she did in a sketchbook. She drew pictures of how she tied the fabric and mathematical notes about the types and amount of powdered dye, chemicals, and water. The formula is all very scientific, not like the Rit dye we used to make tie dye shirts years ago.
She had two scales to measure the grams of the white powder (I think it was some kind of salt) and the grams of dye. She had beakers for the liquid chemical and water – both hot and cold.
We let the fabric soak in the blue dye solution first.
After the correct amount of time elapsed, we washed the excess dye out and put the fabric in a spinner to get excess water out.
Then we took out the thread ties and retied it. She recorded what she did in her book.
Next we put it in the yellow dye and went through the process again.
After taking out the thread this time, we lightly pressed the fabric.
It was so much fun! Thank you Miwako!