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   from the issue of March 27, 2008

  Hillestad showcases 'untied treasures'

The art of Shibori

The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery is featuring "The Art of Shibori: Untied Treasures," a solo show of work by Carter Smith of Massachusetts, through April 11.

SHIBORI ART - Work by Carter Smith on display in the Hillestad Gallery includes
 SHIBORI ART - Work by Carter Smith on display in the Hillestad Gallery includes "Piazza Coat," made of embroidered silk. The background includes details of (top) "Lava Flow" and (bottom) "Dance of the Impalas." Courtesy photo.

Shibori is a Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting or compressing it. Some of these methods are known as tie-dye.

Smith has created a multitude of hand-dyed textiles for clothing and wall pieces over the last 40-plus years. He will visit the UNL campus April 3 and 4 to meet with students and deliver a slide lecture in conjunction with a reception at 5:30 p.m. April 3 in Room 11 of the Home Economics Building. The gallery will be open before and after the lecture. Viewers will also be able to purchase one-of-a-kind silk scarves on the day of the reception and on special Sunday open hours 1-4 p.m. March 30.

Many of Smith's works are ones completed in the last year in his new studio, after a fire destroyed his original home and studio. Some pieces required one month to complete the tying and binding work.

The artist uses a combination of acid dyes and fiber reactive dyes along with a discharging agent to selectively add and remove color. He has adapted the traditional art of stitched and bound resist to suit his contemporary esthetic. Smith layers a multitude of colors as the pieces go through as many as 20 steps to completion.

In his lecture, "The Road to Shibori," Smith will describe how he started tie-dyeing in the fall of 1965 when his mother was teaching tie and dye workshops at the newly opened University of California at Santa Cruz. He became fascinated by these processes and evolved his own personal style. In 1988 his son Noah started working with him. Noah Smith prepares the fabric in California and ships it to his father for the complex dye process.

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