"Pavarti Prepares to Dance" shibori and indigo on cottons
Photo Credit: JC Johnson
Dances We Danced
David F. Heustess
The early part of my arts life was spent as a dancer, first in musical theater and then in modern dance. In my twenties I thought I’d never do anything else. But then time went by along with the wear and tear of training and performing, so I began my visual arts career.
For this series, “Dances We Danced”, I use a technique called shibori. Associated with Japanese kimono decoration, shibori involves manipulating fabric through stitching, knotting, folding and clamping. These methods act as a resist to the dye used and when the fabric is unbound a pattern is revealed. I use a lot of the stitch techniques to create these dance figures; every line is stitched by hand and then tightly pulled and knotted. Each piece of fabric is dyed individually by hand in an indigo vat. Indigo is a blue dye that makes layers on the fabric instead of soaking in to the fabric and this makes it the perfect partner for shibori. I’m often asked how many hours a piece takes to create and I have no answer for that; I simply work until the piece is finished.