The moment I was born, I was swaddled in a smooth, silk cloth hand-dyed by my parents in a multitude of colors and patterns. Both are textile artists who practice shibori, a Japanese dyeing tradition, which consists of various shape-resist dye techniques. Needless-to-say, color and texture were central to my everyday life growing up in rural West Virginia. When I was sixteen, I accompanied my father to his trunk show in Kyoto, Japan. Absolutely enraptured by the Japanese aesthetic, unparalleled craftsmanship, amazing cuisine, fascinating language and bustling culture, Japan has been a part of my life ever since.
As a Fulbright Fellow (2011-2012) I conducted independent research on Japanese textiles and design at Osaka University of Arts in Osaka, Japan. I studied traditional and contemporary textiles including indigo and other natural dyeing, wax-resist dyeing, stencil-resist dyeing and printing, rice paste-resist dyeing, thread-resist dyeing, silk screen printing, Computer-Aided-Design, kimono construction, weaving, and hand-spinning. I traveled throughout Japan seeking out various art museums, exhibitions, cultural festivals, natural dye farms, indigo dyers and textile studios and small factories.
My travels lead me to the small town of Arimatsu, where shibori techniques have been developed, refined and practiced for over 400 years. Techniques passed down from generation to generation through astute observation and incredible perseverance. However, many of these techniques are forever lost or are in danger of being lost due to the lack of younger-folk getting excited and involved. The disappearing of this highly-refined craft and once vibrant tradition summons the urgency and relevance for my continued study and exploration of shibori.