© Claire Fournier
Naturally curious and open to the world since I was young, I have always loved to create, with a particular attraction to textiles and the thread art.
I have both an education in Fine Arts/Haute Couture and a Master's degree in translation (I am French-German), as well as several years of professional experience in both fields, which allows me to combine my passion for textile creation with my love for languages and cultures.
Following several workshops and courses in natural dyeing and more particularly during the shibori stream online classes offered by the amazing Jane Callender, author of the book Nui Shibori, I became completely hooked on shibori.
In my work, I try to create with and in the greatest possible respect for nature, using only natural dyes, in the form of pigments or fresh or dried plants that I transform through various techniques (pounded leaves, cold or hot dyeing). Traditionally, in Japan, Shibori is mostly associated with indigo dyeing (but not exclusively!). Also, these beautiful blue shades are predominant in my work. I am inspired by traditional Japanese techniques, but I like to let my imagination run free and create, in an almost meditative way, patterns and designs according to my moods and inspirations of the moment.
I use exclusively natural fabrics, respectful of the environment, preferably made in France (linen, wool) or organically grown or recycled cotton. I also use vintage fabrics. Moreover, I like the idea of upcycling second hand clothes that I embellish with shibori and dye.
© Mary Wasser
What is Shibori?
Shibori is an ancient Japanese resist dyeing technique that dates back to the 7th century. It is also found in similar forms e.g. in India, where it is called tie-and-dye, in Africa and in other parts of the world. In order to achieve the patterns, the fabric is compressed at specific points by folding, knotting, binding, clamping between wooden (or other) plates clamped with clips, or sewing and embroidery, which create so-called resists, i.e. areas on the fabric that will be so tight that the dye will not be able to penetrate them, or only partially. Different techniques can be combined, opening up an unlimited range of possibilities - and each piece is unique.
Once the resists have been created, the fabric is dyed, usually with indigo.
How does indigo dyeing work?
To dye with indigo, we proceed by successive dips in the indigo vat, respecting the oxygenation time between dips. To understand the magic of indigo, here is a little chemistry: the pigment, of its scientific name "leuco-indigo", which corresponds to the indoxyl contained in the plant and which is present in the vat in a reduced form, is of green color, just like the fabric at the time when it is taken out of the vat. Only when it comes into contact with the oxygen in the air does the indoxyl turn into indigotine and reveal the beautiful indigo blue color. As the dipping progresses (up to 15 in my case), the blue becomes darker and darker. Once the desired color is reached, the piece is rinsed, immersed in water with white vinegar, rinsed again, and then comes the great emotional moment of opening the Shibori. The resists are removed, the threads are cut, the piece is unfolded... and the wonder is revealed...
Then follow various finishing steps to fix the color and make sure that the piece does not turn yellowish and remains beautiful for a long time, but I won't mention them here ;)
You will have understood, it is a work of long haul which requires a lot of patience, some mastery, but also a good dose of letting go and acceptance, because Shibori is full of surprises - but above all a true source of happiness!