September 10, 2012

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Shibori Sensei

Opening the door, Valerie Doran Bashaw revisits the era of tie-dye with the ancient technique of Shibori. This Japanese art form explodes onto cloth when the artist wraps fabric around a pole, binds it with string, and lets the dye do the rest.

Valerie’s current use of Shibori technique did not just fall into her lap; it was placed there. While studying at the Kansas City Institute of Art, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in fiber, Valerie encountered a woman that would become her favorite teacher as well as an inspiration. Shigeko Spear introduced Valerie to Shibori.

Originally from Japan, Shigeko taught her students about Shibori and other fine art techniques of Japan through a slide collection she composed. Years ago, Shigeko died, and Valerie inherited Shigeko’s slide collection. She has used those slides to become a sensei of sorts, a teacher of the art form to others.

While pursuing her Master’s in Fine Arts in fiber at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, she began teaching students as a graduate assistant.

Upon completing her master’s, she returned to Missouri to continue her art and teaching. She creates fiber art utilizing resist techniques, which is binding cloth and dyeing it and also designs printed silk scarves, where she dyes the scarves and stamps metallic pigments.

“Every kind of artist has particular kinds of sensitivities,” she says. “Fiber artists are passionate about color and texture.”

For the future, Valerie aspires to continue her artwork not just for regional art shows and fairs, but in commercial buildings like hospitals and schools.

Although she has set her sights on becoming a full-time artist at her studio, Woven Wind Fibres Studio at Grandview, the twenty- year teacher hasn’t abandoned her first vocation completely.

“I try to phase out being a teacher,” she says, “but I love it so much that I keep a bit around.”

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September 10, 2012

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