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Kate Rowold
Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design

Last modified: Tuesday, September 13, 2011

‘Tie and dye’ textile artist to visit IU as guest of Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series

Sept. 13, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Textile designer and "tie and dye" expert Sharon Kilfoyle will present a public lecture and conduct a three-day workshop for students of Indiana University's Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design during her visit to IU next week. Kilfoyle's Sept. 23 lecture and workshop are presented by the department's Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series.

Sharon Kilfoyle

Sharon Kilfoyle, right, will speak at IU Bloomington Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. in the Walnut Room at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Print-Quality Photo

The Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design is within IU's College of Arts and Sciences.

Kilfoyle will explore several of her resist dye techniques in her presentation "Shibori: The Basics and Beyond," at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, in the Indiana Memorial Union Walnut Room. She'll teach a shibori workshop to IU students studying accessories in the university's new fashion design major.

The ancient art of bound-resist patterning on fabric appears universally in clothing from almost all cultures of the world, from the distant past to contemporary design. The use of "tie and dye" patterning is called "shibori" in the Japanese tradition. The word itself, as a verb, means to twist, wring or squeeze, and the Japanese have perfected many patterns of fabric manipulation.

"We are very pleased to bring Ms. Kilfoyle into our studios here at IU-Bloomington," said Kate Rowold, chair of the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design. "Exposure to her art and expertise will enhance the creative skills of the students in our new fashion design major. Shibori and other textile design techniques from around the world are increasingly important to fashion designers in the U.S., as our taste in fashion is globally influenced."

Kilfoyle began her career in textile design working with wool from sheep, angora goats and angora rabbits. She raised the animals, cultivated the wool and gradually expanded her art into spinning, weaving, felting and natural dyeing with plants from her farm. In the 1990s, Kilfoyle's attention turned to silk and the art of shibori dyeing. While living in Japan, she began teaching shibori and developed her own version of nuno felting. Since then, she has dedicated her life to full-time studio work, teaching textile art seminars in Japan, Korea, Mexico, Canada, Paris and all over the United States.

Kilfoyle believes that beginning to understand how to re-create reality in visions of beauty can change the world.

The Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series was established in 2002 with a bequest from fashion designer Bill Blass, a native Hoosier and friend of Indiana University.

For more information about IU's Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior design, see