Master a Dyeing Art
Last year was all about ikat prints, but last year is a lifetime away in interior trends. So let me introduce you to its not-so-distant cousin, shibori, which is appearing on 2017 catwalks - meaning it's only a matter of time before our homes are donning the trend in full swing. And rightly so, if you're a fan of one-off patterns. You may recognise the indigo hue and far- from-methodical print that characterise this 17th century Japanese dyeing technique. The beauty of shibori, especially if you DIY yours, is that you'll be left with a different result each and every time.
It's probably safe to say that we've all had our own brushes with the technique during childhood, whether it was at school or armed in the back garden with a bucket and some elastic bands.
But before you start imagining Technicolor mash-ups, take heart - shibori is easier to weave in to your existing look.
Teaching beginner to intermediate classes in the technique, Catherine Quinn, of Mottainai Textiles (mottainaitextiles.com), in Belfast, agrees. "Shibori textiles are a great way to incorporate beautiful organic patterns into the home with little effort. The deep indigo shades can transform a traditional dining table or modern high gloss chair. Pair with classic white and neutral tones to bring some colour into a minimal interior," she says.
As an expert in decorative chalk paint, Annie Sloan has also wanted in on the action, proving that paint, as well as dye, works just as well.
"I have found Napoleonic Blue or Aubusson Blue to be especially good. This may be because they're similar to the traditional colour used in Japan," she says. "There are many ways to do this, from simply folding and dipping to more complicated methods. There is always a random element to the result, but you will learn to control your design to an extent.
"Use cotton sheet fabric to practice, but use good quality fabrics such as fine linens and cottons with a good texture for finished pieces. Silk is also a possibility, since it's the traditional fabric often used in Japan. The fabric should not be too thick, as this makes it difficult to fold and it won't absorb the dye well. Off-white fabrics work well with blue," she advises.
Shibori pattern is appearing in stores like Oliver Bonas but there's no denying that boho-themed companies like Anthropologie have been championing the look for many seasons. And although a shibori-patterned bedspread or couch may seem hard to pull off, the trick is to add your standout piece to a more neutral surrounding. Any use of shibori, in the home, is guaranteed to add movement, energy and make a real statement.
Look to Annie Sloan's latest book, Annie Sloan Paints Everything, for a number of unique painting tricks; €21.50, anniesloan.com Catherine Quinn of Mottainai Textiles' next introduction to indigo and shibori workshop is on April 22; see mottainaitextiles.com for more.
Anna Shelswell-White is editor of House and Home magazine