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Friday, January 16, 2015

Baisha Tablecloths, China

I was astounded when I saw the tie dyed technique used to dies table clothes is a Baisha village, and I have not been able to find anything about the history of this other than what everyone there told me--that it is a traditional style of dying and no one there had every heard of the Japanese tie dying style that is very similar known as shibori.

There are many traditional techniques for the Japanese Shibori, but the particular technique that these Baisha clothes use is what is called Nui shibori.  Nui shibori includes stitched shibori. A simple running stitch is used on the cloth then pulled tight to gather the cloth. The thread must be pulled very tight to work, and a wooden dowel must often be used to pull it tight enough. Each thread is secured by knotting before being dyed.
This technique allows for greater control of the pattern and greater variety of pattern, but it is much more time consuming.
The astonishing thing is that these table clothes are incredibly cheap--it is time for someone to discover these and import them.  The entire time I was in China I did not see a lot in the way of unique indigenous artisans, although looking at the wealth of ancient arts there is a rich tradition of making beautiful things by hand.  These are quite lovely and I wish that I had had room to bring home more than one.

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