Section by section, color by color, each segment of the design is addressed.
Despite the fact that many textiles employ the aesthetic discussed under What Does “Tsujigahana” Mean?, it is the mastered combination of shibori (string resist) and hand-painted images that first comes to mind when we speak of tsujigahana, and this is what we will be focusing on in this article.
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left: All areas except that which is to be dyed green are capped off.
center: Once the green is set, the fabric is untied and then retied to expose only the areas to be dyed purple.
 right: The stitched threads are removed and the results inspected.
To ink in the lines, a number of synthetic dyes may be used, or simply soot or indigo pigment mixed with soymilk. A fude-style brush is used for the outlines to give sharp detailed lines, and a surikomi-brush is used to do the shading around the edges to soften the look and add some whimsy.
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Here are a couple of sample designs representing typical images found in tsujigahana. I’ve redrawn them from samples in my collection.
Black is not the only color used to paint in designs. The colors and designs are limited only by the artist’s imagination.
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The first step is to prepare a cartoon. A light table comes in handy when transferring the image to the silk.
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Natural dyes on silk tsumugi using a wide range of colors with a traditional look (collection of the author).
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Using blueflower and a brush to transfer the cartoon image to silk with the help of a light table.
Blueflower (青花, aobana) is used as the transfer ink. It disappears on contact with water. The next step varies with the artist–the permanent lines may be inked in at this point, including the shading, or the images may be inked in once the shibori process has been completed which is the example I will follow below.

The next several images have been borrowed from this site to allow me to add captions in English for you.
Most shibori techniques employ very strong string as the primary resist, allowing the craftsperson to pull the gathers tight.
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Strong cotton or hemp thread is used to stitch around the outlines of the design and pulled tight.
Aobana design stenciled onto cotton used as a guide in stitching.
Nui-shibori edges between the green and orange, coupled with more realistic looking leaves gives a more contemporary impression (collection of the author).
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 Once the outlines are tied off, the areas that won’t be dyed for the time being must be protected.

These areas are capped off. Traditionally the sheaths from bamboo shoots were used, but today various types of plastic are preferred.
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top: Old-style bamboo sheath cap

bottom: The sheaths that cover bamboo shoots as they emerge in spring have many uses in Japan. Here we see a lunch wraped and ready to go.
top: Contemporary artists prefer to use a form of plastic wrap as caps

bottom: Contemporary plastic caps
copyright John Marshall, 2017
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