Rhyannan’s work is an inventive reimagining of a 140-year-old Japanese textile dyeing method called ‘Arashi Shibori’. Seeing the potential for this craft to become an expressive art form, she has been practising arashi since 2014 – always experimenting with different materials, media and methods. There is a world of possibility. She brings a fresh angle to this esoteric craft by adding a dash of Bristol – the art, the politics, the music.
Operating under the moniker ‘Oxidate Design’, she produces fine art textiles, commercial textiles and leads workshops. Her work Eraser was on show at the Toyama Museum of Art and Design (Japan) as part of the prestigious inter-national KOGEI award – which celebrates innovation in artisan crafts. Since then, she has been awarded a grant by the Daiwa Foundation and the Great British Sasakawa Foundation for travel and research in Japan in 2022.
You can often find Rhyannan hiding in her ‘Art Cave’ which is located in The Island on Nelson Street. Concocting alchemical potions of synthetic and plant-based colours, she creates a palette of taste and rhythm and feeling.
In a previous life, she was a textile artist for theatre, film and TV. She has trained under artists from the Royal Opera House and worked for clients such as the Dominion Theatre, Red Bull and Mushroom from Massive Attack.
ABOUT ARASHI SHIBORI
‘Arashi Shibori’ is a specific and refined ‘tie-and-dye’ technique. Cloth is first wrapped around a pole, bound with thread, then compressed and dyed. In its most basic form, it creates a striped pattern but are over 400 distinct patterns.
Rhyannan has often wondered why she is so enamored by this peculiar method. Perhaps it is the name that seduces her. ‘Arashi’ means storm, as the traditional form looks like rainfall being driven by wind. Climate change weighs heavy on her mind: the environmental destruction caused by the fashion industry, built on a bedrock of social injustice. She told us “There is a radical political potential in textiles- we need a new approach to textiles, one for a socially just and environmentally regenerative future.”
Perhaps it is because ‘arashi’ epitomises a delicate balance between control and chaos – the tight-rope that we all walk in life. She pleats her cloth so carefully, binds her poles so precisely, and gives in to the chaotic unknown of a dye vat. “It is a deep life lesson in letting go. Sometimes I try to ruin my work, but it comes out looking better.”
Perhaps it is also the element of surprise – you can never tell how a finished shibori will look until you open it, and once opened you can never go back. Nothing is perfect, nothing is finished, everything comes to an end.
Whatever it is that keeps her obsessed, she insisted they are made with both love and with rage.
27 November 2021