The Wisconsin Indigo Gathering

Imagine this. Days and days of Indigo Shibori dyeing. Working with Japanese dye masters. Spending joyful quality-time with other passionate Shibori makers. Sound like a dream? It was!!

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Circle of Life Studio in Eagle River, Wisconsin for an intensive, amazing time of Indigo Shibori dyeing. I learned so much from Taka and Tomo Ishii, who I studied with in Seattle earlier this Summer. Our wonderful host was artist Debra (Debbie) Ketchum Jircik, owner of Circle of Life Studio. Above, Left to Right: Taka, Debbie, Myself and Tomo.

Wisconsin is a beautiful state and Debbie is such a warm and welcoming host. 

Her wonderful hospitality and the gorgeous sights on her property were a marvelous backdrop for our dyeing and learning time. It was so relaxing to stroll through the lush gardens surrounding the studio - when there was time!

Our time was spent exploring different dye and Shibori techniques, including Miura, Yanagi, Sukomo Indigo and Soot Dyeing along with creating Bukuro bags from our dyed fabric.  In between our dyeing times, we enjoyed snacks like reviving herbal tea and cardamon rolls. It was truly an unforgettable experience and way too much for one blog post!

Watch for follow-up posts on individual techniques over the next few weeks. I have so much to show you! I'll start this week with a few peeks at our Shibori journey.

Miura is an intensive, slow and rhythmic stitched resist technique that results in amazing patterns on the finished fabric. We stitched, dyed and then made Japanese Bukuro shopping bags from our Miura cloth. I am so thrilled with my bag and it will be my joy to use it often! I'll tell you more about Miura Shibori and my bag in a future post. 

Yanagi Shibori, known for its resemblance to willow, is a wrapping technique that we thoroughly enjoyed. It creates subtle, wispy lines of Indigo dyed designs that are absolutely a delight. 

Our Yanagi inspiration was a kimono, hand-dyed by Taka and hand-stitched by his wife, Tomo. Watch for more about Yanagi in another post!

Our Shibori pieces were dyed in a fermented Sukomo vat. Creation of the vat is quite a lengthy process and we were very grateful to Taka for creating this for those at the Gathering to use. 

We also explored the magic of Soot Dyeing! Tomo is quite skilled at painting and dyeing with soot and brought this magnificent painting she had made. It was just breathtaking!

Rather than painting, we dyed linen gauze with the soot. The results were astounding. Watch for a blog post all about Soot Dyeing, too!

As with so many worthwhile life experiences, we were all exhausted by the end of our Gathering time. But, SO happy and full of new inspiration! To read more about Taka and Tomo Ishii, you'll enjoy my blog posts from earlier this Summer.

Click here to read about my first workshop at Botanical Colors with the Ishiis.

And, be sure to follow-up by clicking here to read about the second workshop. 

Watch for more over the next few weeks as I share more Shibori joy from the Wisconsin Indigo Gathering at Full Circle Studio!


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