Kazuki Tabata, The Shibori artisan in Kyoto

“Shibori” is a Japanese traditional technique of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing it, or capping. All these methods began around the 8th century. There is an unlimited number of ways one can produce Shibori, and each way results in very different patterns.

Kyoto has a long running tradition of Shibori and has produced various techniques and many artisans for thousands of years. Unfortunately, in this modern era many Shibori studio are forced to close since their products are getting replaced by the imports and also because of the aging of master artisans and the lack of successors, making authentic Shibori a prized item.

Our featured Shibori artist, Kazuki Tabata, former salaryman, learned Shibori technique from watching his father’s work, but didn’t go professional until recently. Tabata is now a METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)-certified traditional craft artisan, continuing to work on new Shibori products at his studio in Kyoto, with a special interest in producing more modern Shibori design.

Many of SOU SOU products are dyed by hand at Tabata’s studio, including “flying squirrel” caplets and tenugui towels.

You can read Mr. Tabata’s blog here (Japanese only, sorry)

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