Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the Origins of Paisley

The spiral fold is NOT a traditional Japanese shibori motif. I've never seen an example of it in Japanese resist dyeing, although it is in some ways similar to yanagi (weeping willow). Both types pleat around a point at the center of the fabric, although yanagi pleats come straight out from the center while spiral pleats swirl around it.

Be that as it may, the spiral pattern is easy to tie (once you know what you're doing), easy to dye, reliable, and very popular.

It also screams TIE-DYE! to people, so I never ever dye them in rainbow primaries or psychedelic colors.

I especially love the spiral pattern on beach towels -- great for surfers. Wave action right there on your towel.

And four of them on a tea towel make beautiful mandalas.

Love the ways the colors came together in that one -- crisp instead of muddy and with interesting bleeding from one color to the other.

While I was photographing these tea towels, I thought "Whoa, paisley."

Soft and blurry or sharply defined.

When you tie a spiral, you get a paisley.

Maybe my very favorite of the whole batch. Really crisp pleat-and-bleed action with a feathery/watery feel to it.

This is giving me flashbacks to the 60s even though they ended when I was 8.

Like wow, man.

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