• Itajime: digital intervention

      Wells, Kate; University of Derby (The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, 2019-10-03)
      The lesser known Shibori technique of clamped resists of Itajime or Kyokechi as it is more commonly known by in Japan and Jiaxie within China, has been perfected over time and reinvented throughout its long history. Clamped resists have been discovered worldwide but it is unsure as to where the technique first originated, the history of the technique is an enigma as examples have been found in China, Japan, India, Central Asia and southern Europe. Research into the technique’s origins indicate within Chinese records that Jiaxie was produced between the Qin Dynasty (778-206 BC) and the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 263) but today, however, production through this resist method of patterning is nearly extinct despite efforts by the Chinese Government in the 21st century to help preserve this ancient folk craft practice from vanishing all together. In Japan examples exist that date from the 8th century but subsequent examples are scarce until a re-appearance of the technique in the 1800 but by the later 20th century to the author’s knowledge, a single designer was employing the process then. Nowadays, in the textile/craft sector, there are examples where such a patterning technique is successfully being re-employed through the integration of CAD/CAM into the process. Advances in laser cutting, CNC Woodworking, 3D, and digital design manipulation and printing, create an interesting opportunity for its revival again. Digitally controlled machines that engrave an image in a hard surface with exact precision replace the woodcarvers’ skill originally needed for creating the matching wooden plates/blocks, whereas the process of colouration and patterning of the fabric returns to the skill of the Dyer/Craftsperson. Digital printing can reproduce the randomness and the soft-edged, but precise motifs that have a ghostly image as described by Larson in the ‘The Dyers Art, ikat, batik, plangi’ (1976) which embeds a degree of imperfection in the resulting print. It is a case of technology meets haptic to inventing a unique form of patterning to create unique fabrics. The juxtaposition where precision digital cutting, forming, and printing, and the hand process of dyeing unite.