Adventures In Steamed Shibori

I've been taking a City and Guilds level 3 embroidery course at a local college, and this week we tried steamed shibori which was SUCH FUN!

The basic idea is to create structure in fabric through the use of steam. Synthetic fabrics keep their shape when washed, natural fabrics do not. We used a vegetable steamer for 20-25 minutes at a time, tying or stitching objects and creases in the fabric, steaming them then untying the fabric to see what effects we had created, which were often quite unexpected.

This was satin tied around screws. I realised afterwards that the tying thread should have gone more accurately in the threads of the screws to get a more realistic effect.

This is organza tied around screws then coloured with silk paints (which then bled all over the steamer). This doesn't show the screw effect as well as the silk one but I still quite like it.

Beads gave a much more even effect.

I have no idea what this fabric is, kind of nylon Tyvek? It held the bead shape really well.

I love the organic look of this one, which was the most fiddly with using pearl-sized beads in the middle. The larger beads unexpectedly bled colour - I would rather it was all one colour with just texture differences but I don't hate the effect.

I was really inspired by textile artist Michelle Griffiths - I found a Pinterest board here that has some of her amazing screw pieces. I don't know if this technique will fit in with my plans for the final 3D embroidered piece for the course, but I do really want to try it again.

Have you tried any unusual textile techniques that I should investigate?

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