Throughout February and March, the Northeast Harbor Library will exhibit “Resist Dyed Textiles, Old and New” in the Mellon Room. The work is a mixture of items on loan to the library from people who have traveled and collected textiles from important ancient centers of the craft. Some pieces are new work, made by local highly talented dyers. There will be a reception Wednesday, February 11, from 4-6pm, where the techniques used in the pieces will be described.
Before block printing was invented in China in about 500AD, resist dyeing was the way to create a design on fabric using dye. The various techniques include ikat, which involves a process that before a piece is woven, the yarns to be used for the warp (or the warp and the weft, in double ikat) are wrapped. The part that is wrapped resists the dye, and when arranged on a loom, the pattern emerges. Plangi, or tie-dye, is done on finished cloth, by wrapping areas of the cloth tightly so they resist the penetration of the dye. Batik is another technique, in which wax is painted on the surface of cloth, so that the area under the wax resists being dyed. Shibori is a type of resist dyeing from Japan involving stitching cloth and pulling the stitches tight so the area under the stitches resists being dyed. These and other techniques from India, Indonesia, Uzbeckistan, Guatemala, Japan, Brazil, and Africa, and from Maine, which be on display.
The exhibit is available for viewing whenever the library is open and the Mellon Room is not in use. Please consult the library’s online calendar at www.nehlibrary.org to check room availibilty.