I’m in love! I’m in love. I’m in love with the art of shibori. Also with a house.
If you follow the ‘Spoon on Snapchat or Instagram you’ve probably already seen a few shibori- and house-themed snaps and posts over the last week, and I’m sure you can see where my love has stemmed from.
Last weekend I mini-road-tripped up to Oak and Monkey Puzzle to learn the art of shibori from dyeing extraordinaire Margaret-Anne Gooch, who also turned out to be one of the sweetest people ever! The workshop was put together and hosted by the equally sweet Natasha Morgan, owner of the Oak and Monkey Puzzle farm, who is one of those people that makes you feel totally at ease and welcomed — like you’re an old friend coming over for a cup of tea.
The workshop was held in a beautifully repurposed shipping container on Natasha’s property — she just happens to be a landscape architect by trade; you totally can’t tell, right? — which made the perfect space for an intimate gathering. Morning tea was waiting for us in front of the sweetest little potbelly wood heater, along with a delicious orange and almond cake, which I have since pilfered the recipe for of course.
Meg’s shibori bunting hung above a long table amongst an oak branch suspended from the ceiling, and we settled underneath with our tea and cake ready to learn all about the art of shibori!
(I was already at least two cups of tea and half a cake deep by this stage, I think)
After some introductions, Meg gave us an overview of the history of shibori and shared a few of her insanely stunning pieces with us. If you’re not familiar, shibori is a Japanese dyeing technique using indigo. It produces some very distinct and spectacular designs, and that COLOUR. HNNG.
The folding, stitching and binding techniques are simple in theory (ha) but the quality of Meg’s work was just unreal. I think we were all pretty mesmerised by the intricate patterns and shapes she’d created, and now that I’ve tried my hand at it I have even more respect for her work. Her whites are just so white!
Once everyone was all well and truly hyped up for some shibori-makin’ we donned our aprons, bundled up in some blankets, and wandered down through the garden to watch Meg demonstrate her dyeing process. It was chilly but the blankets and throws worked their magic, coupled with another little wood heater and a few well-chosen warming dance moves!
Meg showed us how to dip, rinse and time the pieces properly, while describing how the dye was working and explaining a few personal techniques. I think we were all pretty surprised by the colour when she pulled the cloth from the bucket — an intense, bright green! It was incredible watching the dye interact with the air and quickly turn into the deep indigo colour we were all expecting.
After the demo we all trooped back up into the warm to begin our own shibori pieces — along with another cup of tea, of course.
It was a long day with far too many pretty things to capture, so stay tuned for part two of the workshop next week! There’ll be tasty food and mulled wine, more blanket-covered creative people, and of course — lots of shibori.
In the meantime, take a peek at Meg’s website and follow her on instagram. If you’re interested in purchasing any of Meg’s work, you’ll find them available through Craft Victoria, Tarrawarra Museum of Art and Manteau Noir.
You also better check out Natasha’s website to find out more about Oak and Monkey Puzzle, and keep up to date on future workshops by following her Instagram too!