Carved Board Clamp Resist Dyeing

Kyokechi - a 4Day Shibori Workshop

Definition and background: 
Carved board clamped resist (CBCR) originated in China in the 7th century where it was called jia xie.  Shortly after, the technique which involves sandwiching cloth between carved pairs of mirror image boards, then clamping and dyeing appeared in Japan's Nara period.  It was known as kyokechi.   
Typical of many textile techniques, CBCR has had a broadly varied production history.   Gagaku or ancient theater costumes of the 14-15th century were produced with this technique, likely due to advantage in quickly reproducing costumes subject to wear and tear. Safflower dyeing in the 17-18th century was frequently done with this technique, likely related to the delicacy of this specific dye. 19th Century popular production included carved patterns imitating the more expensive labor intensive shibori patterns.  

Early descriptions don't distinguish clearly between itajime, the more familiar clamped board resist done without patterned boards.   The elegance of itajime which translates wooden board (ita) and sandwich and tighten (jime) is usually in the delicacy and art of the folds prior to clamping and the finesse of the dye penetration.  The early term kyokechi which translates clamp (kyo) and dyeing (kechi) gives us a clue to the importance of the clamp itself.   While the boards are significant to the patterning, the clamp provides the strength and support that creates the resist force blocking any dye penetration.   This strong resist force allows elaborate, fine detail of the carving to be recorded as a positive on the cloth. 

At this workshop your instructor JAY RICH (USA) will:
1.  Review the history of carved board clamped resist, 
2.  Demonstrate the use of resist blocks, folding, clamping and dyeing process, 
3.  Provide the opportunity for personal board development and experimentation

After a general understanding of the potentials, students will produce a small format design of their own. Due to technical reasons personal designs may be engraved for them on acrylic boards before the actual course starts (in which case special instructions will be given) or at a later moment. Students may also use ready made carved boards from the tutor himself (see below)

Demonstration and quick studies will be done with indigo (dye 1).  This provides the simplest way of practicing the intricacies of folding, placing the design elements on the cloth and mastering the secure clamping  process. Additional dye options will include safflower (dye 2), an ancient delicate dye used extensively with CBCR and a new revolutionary use of an old dye, kakishibu (dye 3) or fermented persimmon juice.  Also,  Procion MX reactive dyes (dye 4) for quick and easy layering of pattern and discharge options (dye 5) either from commercial black silks or procion dyed  samples.

The variety of dye options offered would likely be confusing to a beginning dyer and is intended to provide intermediate to advanced dyers opportunity, in a short amount of time, to experiment with some or all of these methods.  Our goal is to provide opportunity to fully appreciate the potentials of CBCR dyeing.

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This list is based on a short class for sampling and mastering this dye technique. 

We will be working with carved pairs of blocks provided and available for sale should you chose to purchase.   
A series of blocks would be necessary for yardage production. 
We have made plans for offering a carving service prior to class for your own designs submitted in black and white by August 1.  Instructions and suggestions for designs will be provided and email communication will be possible to finalize this arrangement. 

pls bring:
Notebook for record keeping and sketching

Tags or permanent fabric marker to label your samples (tyvek tags stitched to edges works)

Scissors or rotary cutters, ruler, measuring tape

Tools for precisely folding thin fabrics such as pins, rulers, invisible markers, cardstock for templates (folding will be done at the ironing board)

2 pairs of strong clamps;  one pair that is rust proof and not stained  for the safflower which is pH and iron sensitive, a delicate dye that strikes slowly;  and persimmon which is iron sensitive.  Indigo, Procion and discharge can handle any good, well used studio clamps       sizes:  8-10cm,   3-4 inch opening

Cups for dyes, pouring, mixing

Small samples of your own fabrics you’d like to try:  thin, loose weave works best

Karina has an excellent range of silks, cotton and silk blends (perfect for safflower),  organza’s , batiste, voiles and nets at her studio shop.   Jay will bring small samples of leno weave Japanese kimono fabrics for students to experiment with.   (ro, sha)

Dye clothing, gloves, a couple buckets/pans/trays of a size your clamped bundles will fit in. 

Towels for spills, baggies or cello or means of “batching” Procion, storing indigo or keeping safflower spotless

Extra boards (not carved) for covering (combining with the carved ones) and protection or if you want to make other trials