Shibori techniques for textiles with Rob Jones

Ref: SSS29705

About this course

Working with traditional techniques, create patterned fabrics and papers using stitching and binding. You will be taught: Shibori basics, Mokume, Guntai and Makiage, Itajime, Shin-Ire, Arashi and Hishaki-nui, before dyeing with traditional indigo and natural plant dyes (typically tansy and madder).

Course Description

Shibori is the Japanese word for resist dyeing of fabric. Working with a variety of traditional techniques, you will create patterned fabrics using stitching and binding, boards, clamps, templates and poles before dyeing with traditional indigo, tansy/heather and madder plants. Each piece of fabric will be unique, allowing for creative exploration for your own textile work.

Working with a variety of techniques and then dyeing the fabrics produces amazing textures and effects for use in textile art. Each piece of fabric will be unique, allowing for creative exploration for your own work.

You will explore a wide variety of Shibori techniques to pattern cloth using stitch, binding, clamping, pleating and wrapping and be encouraged to try ideas of your own.

Following this there will be a recap on the basics of stitching and binding: advanced stitch techniques including traditional patterns such as Hishaki-nui (working on the fold), Mokume (Woodgrain), Guntai (stitch and bind as you go), Itajime board clamping; Shine-Ire (rope core work using a traditional shibori stand); Makiage (stitched motifs); and a selection of other techniques will also be presented. We will also look at layering techniques on top of each other and cutting and re-piecing which may appeal to textiles artists looking for a more advanced interpretation of Shibori and how to vary its use.

After preparation, your work will be dyed with indigo to produce a range of blues. If you wish to include other colours, natural dye plant vats such tansy or heather flowers for yellow and madder for red, will be available to pre-dye or over-dye fabrics. You will produce a range of fabrics to keep both as a visual record for future reference and, if you wish, towards the end of the course do some work exploring re-piecing and ways to work with your dyed fabric. Demonstrations, discussions and tutorials will be ongoing throughout the course and encouragement given on how to continue with your work at home or in your studio.

The only pre-requisite is that you’ll need to have some hand sewing skills and dexterity for using thread.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio

• A celebration dinner on the last evening themed on Impressionism, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition held in Paris in 1874. Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully

N.B: This workshop will focus on using an indigo dye vat for blues, the natural dye plant vats for yellow or red in line with Rob Jones’ own practice.

The course may not be suitable for those with nut allergies or sensitivity to dye plants.

Course Materials


  • Indigo, madder and tansy/heather dyes and their auxiliaries will be provided.

What students need to bring

  • Fabric: Gather a collection of plain natural cellulose fabrics to use to dye. Fabrics such as cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo and viscose (or combinations of these) work best. You can also dye silk and wool too, so bring some of these if you wish. Threads can also be dyed. If you like to recycle fabric, consider bringing some, they often take the dye beautifully.
  • Bring 2-3 metres of cotton lawn. It will be used in the Itajime clamping and some other techniques.
  • Shirting and quilting cottons are excellent for stitch resist work.
  • You can also bring pre-hemmed scarves should you wish to dye a piece to wear.
  • Please pre-wash all fabrics in non-biological washing product (unless they are PFD – prepared for dyeing) and dry. Do not use fabric softener.
  • A large sealable bucket with a lid (25l)
  • Apron and rubber gloves – wear old clothes.
  • Wooden stick, dowel or short piece of bamboo (1 inch diameter, approx. 2 feet long) to stir the vat
  • Air or water erasable marker pen
  • Ruler, note pad and pen and digital camera
  • A cushion. This will be used to Shin-Ire core work with a stand so make sure its comfy as you will be sitting on it.
  • Bonded nylon thread (60s weight) to use for tying and stitching. Get a dark colour so you can see your stitching.
  • Sewing kit – scissors, needles etc. You need a long, THIN darning needle.
  • Unpicker/Seam ripper
  • A large jerry can will be provided should you wish to take your indigo home with you.
  • The tutor will bring a selection of items for the class to use such as templates, pegs, clips and poles for some of the Shibori techniques. If you have any others of your own, please bring them.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A limited ranges of natural fabrics suitable for dyeing
  • Fabric marker pens
  • Unpicker/Seam ripper
  • Needle threader (optional
  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course the tutor will bring some additional fabrics for you to purchase directly from him if you wish. The cost of what you select should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course:
  • Vintage French linen fabric
  • Some mordanted fabrics and pre-dyed fabrics dyed with natural plant dyes.

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

General Information


Rob Jones

Rob Jones is a textile artist, who takes his inspiration from Japanese Textiles traditions including Shibori, Katagami stencilling and Sashiko embroidery and Boro. He began his study in 2011 at West Dean on short courses and then undertook an intensive course with Bryan Whitehead in Japan in the autumn of 2014. Rob has been a full time textiles designer and teacher since September 2015.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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