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Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now: Contemporary Shibori Innovations Hardcover – 24 May 2002

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Hardcover, 24 May 2002
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd; 1 edition (24 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 477002777X
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770027771
  • Product Dimensions: 30 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,153,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


"... substantially broadens the [Japanese] term shibori ... to similar processes used all over the world." -- European Textile Network

"... this book will confirm old passions -- and ignite new ones for initiates." -- Textile Fibre Forum

About the Author

For nearly thirty years, surface-design artist, curator, and textile researcher YOSHIKO IWAMOTO WADA has been teaching shibori, first in Berkeley, California and then around the world. Many who took her classes went on to become artists and teachers themselves, and thanks to Wada's efforts the field has expanded geometrically over the course of a single generation. In 1983 she also coauthored, with Mary Kellogg Rice and Jane Barton, the definitive book in English, Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped-Resist Dyeing. As Jack Lenor Larsen puts it in his foreword to Memory on Cloth, "Through her first book, Shibori, and through her exhibits, lectures, and personal persuasion in every communication medium, Wada has single-handedly changed our field and its language." Because of her commitment to keeping shibori traditions alive, the word "shibori" has now become universally accepted as the term for shaped-resist processes. Wada continues to travel the world searching for shibori innovations and outstanding artists.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
own. To him, individual works in shibori seem to possess a structure similar to DNA-a "genetic code" that determines their features and characteristics. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ribbons Monroe on 29 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm very interested in textile art and techniques, and had often wondered how to create the beautiful textures and colours associated with Shibori-This book not only describes the origins from around the world, but looks in depth at shibori artists and designers, and has a brilliant section at the end on how to create the three dimensional textiles and unusual patterns for yourself. The photography is beautiful and it is written in a clear, exciting way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For £55 I was expecting more of an encyclopaedia of shibori techniques. While this book is very pretty, the first half is dedicated to colour photos of various artists' works I was very disappointed by the final section that details some of the contemporary shibori techniques, including heat setting to produce 3D effects in polyester. The explanations of how the effects were achieved were not detailed enough to encourage me to attempt any of them and I was annoyed that the publisher had dedicated dozens of colour photos in the first half of the book while the section I was most interested was in black and white making it difficult to determine what was due to 3D effect and what was due to dye pattern. Disappointing. For the first time ever, I have returned a book. In my opinion this is a very expensive coffee table book, pretty to look at but not very practical for those wishing to explore some new shibori techniques.
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By Jill Orr-Young on 30 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This timeless and beautiful book will inspire and delight those who are drawn to shibori. Illustrating a wide range of techniques through the textiles created by artisans in every continent, it quietly encourages a striving towards excellence in practice and an appreciation of the skills required. I bought it after completing a shibori workshop as an inspiration and guide for my on-going journey.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. R. J. Withers on 10 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book for the visual impact and the inspirational work shown. My fingers itch to get started
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now 3 April 2008
By L. J. Ryan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I just took a workshop with Yoshiko Wada, the author of this book, and she used it extensively as a reference. Much of what we did in the class is detailed in the book and I am going to use it to keep working on many of the techniques on my own. I feel that the instructions are clear and the illustrations helpful. There is a wealth of information in the book, and I enjoyed how Yoshiko Wada applies the techniques and concepts of traditional Japanese shibori to contemporary materials and new methods. If you are interested in textile design, shibori, dyeing, or fashion, you will enjoy this reference.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Wow!! 13 Mar. 2006
By Mimi J - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is some book. This goes beyond your normal techniques. It was mindblowing with the endless possibilities for manipulation of all sorts of fabrics.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful pictures, not for instructions 4 Jan. 2007
By Ted S. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was hoping for more instructions on how to create shibori pieces...this is not the book for that.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not really a necessity for learning 11 Mar. 2009
By Bina E. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For history it's fine, although rather expensive. Her other book "Shibori" was all you really need.
60 of 86 people found the following review helpful
The best book that's been done about contemporary shibori 15 Nov. 2002
By Douglas BULLIS - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Shibori is the Japanese word for resist-dyeing. There are three shibori techniques: tie-dye (those Sixties hallucinoform tee-shirts); clamp-resist (being pressed between two boards or tied tightly around a pole), and wax-resist (batik). It is an extremely old technique, perhaps the first to impose upon cloth a pattern that wasn't woven there.
Fragments of shibori-like textiles found in Africa date from as far back as 700 BCE. Purely Japanese textiles date from the Yayoi period (200 BCE-250 ACE). Yayoi people wove garments on portable looms. The making of cloth depended not so much on the mass of the wearer's body as on how the movement of the wearer's body will determine what the loom must do. In Yayoi times weavers used portable loom that could be easily set up by tying one set of warp ends around the waist and the other to a tree. The weaver's body width fixed the width of the fabric. That most Yayoi textiles were about twelve inches wide says much about the size of the Yayois.
Japan did not embrace clothing as an expression of social delineation until the Asuka period (552-645), an era when Chinese crafts, and customs were eagerly imported. Over the centuries, surface designs became steadily more complex as garment silhouettes became steadily more simple. These tendencies merged into the kimono and have stayed there ever since. With the xenophobic policies of the Tokugawa Shogunate, all things foreign were shunned. The Japanese turned inward to their own tastes and aesthetics.
By the Edo period (1600-1868), complex layerings of color, patterns, and resist dyes all contributed to a great culmination of textile design. Into the canons of design came surface complexity ranging from colors so saturated they dazzle the eye to so subtle they are almost indistinguishable. Japanese textile art embraced a dozen or more dyeing techniques, embroidery and appliqué, painted pictures, hammered gold and silver patterns, calligraphy. Out of these chirped an aviary of decor-plum blossoms, pine boughs, flowers on trellises, rice sheaves, snowflakes, paired shells, swallowtail butterflies, quince flowers, waves, interlocked squares, medallions of chrysanthemum and wisteria and gentian, cranes, lightning, hemp leaves, scrolls of peony, woven circles, basket work, fish scales, mountains, clouds, flowing water, waves, checkerboards, circles.
In the wrong hands such a tumultuous vocabulary would end in chaos. But from the great costumes of the Noh to the hundreds of treatises on kimono design to be found in Japanese bookstores and libraries today, there always existed in the Japanese garment imagination a more fundamental quality: drama. It is no surprise to find that the garment's greatest period of elaboration came after it was adopted as the principle costume by groups of itinerant entertainers who evolved into the most enduring of Japanese theatrical styles, the Noh.
The Memory on Cloth story begins after World War II. Before the War, textiles and garments were major engines of Japan's economy-the equivalent of transistor products and autos today. The quaint, consuming, painstaking art of shibori was nearly extinct by the 1960s. Modernity-craving Japanese put their old kimonos into the tansu and bought Missoni and Prada and The Gap. Shibori's spiritual home, in Arimatsu and Narumi on Honshu island, was ignored even by the railways, which built no sidings there. Too few fabric dyers were left to fill a boxcar with goods.
But valiant was the tenacity of the industry. Arimatsu-Narumi's response was to invent. When the market for kimonos dwindled, they made neckties. Even so, by 1972, one of Japan's oldest industries had dwindled to two elderly practitioners. Then along came people like Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, one of so many artists who bootstrapped ancient crafts out of extinction by globalizing them in the same positive way that world fusion music has globalized innumerable melody forms. Shibori was turned around. Today it is an internationally recognized art form.
It also can be a vibrant modern art form. Memory on Cloth features work by artists from Africa, South America, Europe, India, Japan, China, Korea, the USA, and Australia. It encompasses fabric design, wearable art and fashion, and textile art or various sculptural forms. Described are works by more than seventy innovative designers, including Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Jurgen Lehl, Jun'ichi Arai, Helene Soubeyran, Genevieve Dion, Asha Sarabhai, Junco Sato Pollack, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Marian Clayden, and Carter Smith. Each artist shares details on the processes they have created, making this an invaluable source of inspiration for artists in fields outside of textile design.
Japan never made a distinction between craft and art. Indeed, even in the West that demarcation arose only over the last few hundred years as a manifestation of the post-Renaissance preoccupation with individuality. In Japan the unity of art and craft was not because Japanese textile makers shunned egocentrism, but because of their tendency to focus on process more than product. The Japanese Zen garden of raked stones is Exhibit A in contemplative surrender to process.
Like so many arts that globalization salvaged at the edge of extinction, shibori inspired a modern revival laden with legend and freighted with technique. The progress of Japanese textiles is stuttery, sitting in place one moment, leaping forward the next, the artists either appropriating or inventing as chance comes calling. The result is a continually evolving collaboration between past and future. Today's mingling of synthetic and natural fibers, organics and metals, hand and machine, are in keeping with the try-anything heritage of the country's garments.
Yoshiko Wada is an endearingly good writer: lucid, logical, tight, to the point. She teaches shibori aesthetics and techniques in her home city of Berkeley, California, and around the world. Thanks to her, shibori was transported to Africa and inspired a vibrant local industry in Mali and other Sahel countries. Of her it can truly be said that the word `shibori' is now an international currency.
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