Silk Shibori Ribbon
Color, Texture, Dimension – This Ribbon is a Dream!

Julie Yonge © 2009

   
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I am always on the prowl for something new and exquisite, something unique to integrate into my crazy quilting and other art work. Aren’t we all? While “surfing the web” one evening recently, I happened onto a video clip of the textile artist, Glennis Dolce, constructing leaves and flowers with her silk shibori ribbon. I literally had an “aha” moment as Oprah would say. The magnificent texture, dimension and color of the ribbon was mesmerizing. I just wanted to sink into it and let it show me its magic and mystery. Thus began my investigation into silk shibori ribbon. It is my pleasure to share with you what I have learned about it and its creator, Glennis Dolce.


Glennis Dolce

Glennis Dolce, it seems, was born with the innate sense to create; to make things with her hands. After studying ceramics in college, she opened her own porcelain ceramics studio and embarked on a thirty year career in designing, manufacturing and marketing decorative items. The last ten years of those thirty, she made porcelain buttons for the textile industry. Glennis always had an interest in textiles and was at that time getting the urge to redirect her artistic focus. Having lived in Japan for several years as a young girl, she was exposed to and developed an appreciation for Japanese textiles and the artisans that made them. This influence returned to her as she pondered what she wanted for her future. One day in 2005, as she was looking over her personal collection of fabrics, she made the life-changing decision to redirect her artistic focus from ceramics to textiles. She decided to give herself a one year sabbatical and do some research in dying; specifically shibori. Shibori is a Japanese term for several methods of dying cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing it; in other words, exploring the beauty of texture and color by dying the cloth with some type of resist. Glennis once again traveled to Japan, collected more fabric and began her new artistic journey. She immersed herself in books about silk, shibori and dying techniques; silk having quickly become her fabric of choice.

Glennis learned to use the arashi method (pole wrapping) of preserving fine pleats in silk fabric and was inspired to apply this method to silk ribbon. The results are her unique creation; pleated silk shibori ribbon. Glennis starts by applying a base dye to the silk ribbon which then gets pole wrapped (for the texture), put into a discharge bath and then over-dyed. My explanation here is, needless to say, an over simplification. It takes countless hours and lots of practice to get where Glennis is today in creating her unique ribbon. Glennis is inspired by everything around her when working. Her muses include seasonal colors, a painting she may have seen in a gallery, blooms in a garden, or music playing in the background as she works. Music especially seems to help her artistic flow. Sometimes there are fantastic surprises which naturally occur due to the unique process; Glennis finds these quite satisfying. She has been dying textiles now for three years and is currently the only producer of her unique creation - silk shibori ribbon.

Silk shibori ribbon offers the unique design aspect of sculpture - an ability which surpasses regular ribbon applications. The ribbon is a beautiful design element in its simplest form, as seen in these photos where it is used as a necklace to showcase a pendant, or when it is sculpted into magnificent dimensional flowers and designs for use in other artistic applications.

Silk shibori flower designs Bead by Kate Tracton strung on silk Necklace by Kate Tracton using silk shibori ribbon

Glennis currently has a class offered through Joggles where she teaches how to use her silk shibori ribbon to produce an elegant wired ribbon necklace with a dimensional silk shibori flower.


Wired silk shibori ribbon necklace

Glennis also makes beautiful silk scarves and shawls with the arashi shibori technique. She has created one-of-a-kind hand-dyed silk charmeuse shibori pocket squares as wearable art for men and her silk shibori ribbon can be sculpted into amazing corsage pins or fabric art pieces.

Silk shibori scarf Silk shibori shawl  Flower designs using silk shibori ribbon Flower corsage in silk shibori ribbon

Glennis continually explores new applications for her beautiful silk ribbon, for example, a binding for quilts or quilt blocks or a foundation for imaginative stitching techniques in applications such as fabric collage.

Silk shibori ribbon used to bind a quilt block Silk shibori ribbon as a foundation for artistic hand-stitching

I, myself, have begun to explore and play with my newly acquired silk shibori ribbon, making flowers, leaves and getting a feel for its sculptural qualities. It showcases a wonderful sense of movement for many textile applications in the mixed media genre. And, I ask myself, what about needle punching portions of it to a base fabric and leaving other portions to ebb and flow? I can see lots of possibilities for using silk shibori ribbon in my work.

Glennis also does her own photography. Her passion for the texture and dimension in her creations shines through in the beautiful pictures she takes. Here are just a couple of examples:

She has a line of cards and an annual calendar with photographs of her work available on her Etsy site (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_2&listing_id=12479965).

I hope I have encouraged you to introduce silk shibori ribbon into your world of possibilities. Be sure to check out Glennis Dolce’s website at http://shiborigirl.wordpress.com, where you can find information on how to order silk shibori ribbon, as well as learn about her current workshop and teaching schedule. A visit to her Flickr site is an absolute must; http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdolce/sets/72157600716925873/.  You can also learn more about Glennis and her silk shibori ribbon in her article "Silk Sculptress" in the current (September/October) issue of Belle Armoire magazine.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Glennis Dolce for allowing me to introduce her silk shibori ribbon to our readers and for her passion to help others realize their creative spirit and potential. I would also like to thank the jewelry artist and designer, Kate Tracton, for allowing me to use her photo which showcases not only Glennis’ silk shibori ribbon, but Kate’s unique and beautiful beaded barrel-shaped bead. To read about and see more of Kate Tracton’s work, please visit her website at: http://shiborigirl.blogspot.com/#ixzz0QvR8xcPe 

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