Indigo has long been a colour & tradition close to my heart. I love its many forms in shibori dying, stitched-together boro fabrics & mud cloths from parts of Asia and Africa. But right in our very own neighbourhood are Karen & Pepa of Shibori, a boutique textile company in the heart of the Inner West.
These girls have collaborated with me on many a project, from my surfboard range with McTavish to custom leathers for my commercial projects to the unique products I stock in my store at The Society Inc. The duo reimagines ancient techniques of fabric dying into contemporary products & homewares and even offer DIY workshops so you can incorporate the aesthetic of indigo and shibori dying into your life. Pepa is an old friend of mine, so it was nice to take a peak into her world to share with you.
Where are you located? Can you describe in detail your workspace?
Shibori’s home is a quaint little shop front in Stanmore, NSW. It houses our studio, workshop space and a small retail store. It’s a working studio space that lets us create, make a mess and teach classes.
First thing you reach for in the morning?
Always coffee. Coffee and iPad to see what inspiration the world has to offer that day.
Can you explain your relationship to the tradition of indigo dying?
We have always known the magic of indigo; it’s what made us fall in love with dyeing from the very beginning. It’s a funny thing though, when we started out anything remotely tie-dyed was frowned upon and we had to use soft, muted colours. It wasn’t until 2010, when we were approached by architects, Woods Bagot to do large-scale indigo wall pieces for Macquarie Bank Head Office on Shelley Street, that everything started to turn around. Shibori, traditionally practiced with indigo, soon found it’s way into the design community and before long we were teaching workshops and encouraging others to experience indigo.
The beauty of indigo is it’s unlike any other dye, and you can play with the chemistry of it and it will give you patterns and textures that you couldn’t even imagine. Making shibori with indigo is like being a child on Christmas morning, every parcel you open is a surprise and although with practice it can be reproduced, it makes it very addictive to the novice.
Who or what keeps you inspired?
Inspiration comes to us by the people we work with. Often we are presented with an idea or creative vision and left to experiment and interpret it with our own skill set. Karen and I get excited by trying new mediums and mixing techniques to discover something new.
Dream travel itinerary?
We’d like to travel to Bhutan, in the Himalayas, the happiest place on earth. A few weeks of soaking up the culture, the people and the energy. Just what the doctor ordered.
Words to live by?
Don’t think too much. Sometimes just trying something, even something that’s not logical, leads to creating something new. After 5pm drinks? Yes please!