Shibori artist Teresa Misagal lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. A combination of honed intuition and stitching fluency direct the outcomes of her elaborate, resist-dyed patterns. At times narrative and other times strictly geometric, the originally blank white cloth is reimagined in this artist’s mind – transformed through this ancient resist dye art form. Cloth is folded onto itself, stitched together, wrapped with cord at slow, plotted intervals. All in preparation to immerse in an indigo vat. Once liberated from its vat and its resist, the cloth opens to reveal bold and mesmerizing patterns. Each opening is a new possibility.
To build her skills, Teresa journeyed to Japan in 2015 to study with master dyers, eventually moving there in 2017. Due to linguistic barriers, she often learned simply through careful observation and assisting. Teresa credits this style of learning with the deep intuition which ensued. Rather than learning by explanation, she learned by watching and doing. The process became embodied, language and knowledge now resides in her hand.
Teresa is drawn to the subtle nuances of indigo and the ways in which shibori lends itself so beautifully to the dye, and is inspired by the skill and effort that is required to create predictable and beautiful designs. She enjoys shibori’s potential for precision. It is not random or chance-based, as in other dyeing methods. It can be extremely exact. Her dedication and passion drive her desire to see it through, feeling her way through the process, personally and physically involved at each step. The cloth is held in her hands from start to finish — through determining and planning composition, stitching, pulling threads to fold and cinch, and finally, submerging into dye. It is a peaceful practice — gentle and meditative. She loves shibori because there are always more ways to exact the technique, and always more techniques to learn.
We spoke with Teresa about her practice and her relationship to shibori and cloth:
Tatter: What is your relationship to the lineage of your materials/technique?
Teresa: Hmmm…. I like touching natural fabrics and shaping what they can become with needle, thread and indigo. The two dimensional piece magically becomes three dimensional when it’s ready for dyeing. And the techniques to create patterns can always be improved. It’s a never- ending education and exploration. There is always room for personal evolution.
Tatter: What else have textiles taught you and/or introduced you to?
Teresa: Textiles have taught me patience and to trust my intuition. That if I continue to do this thing I love, and share that, the universe will offer its support and introduce me to more like-minds and opportunities that assist in fueling my creativity.
Tatter: Has your textile practice led you anywhere unexpected?
Teresa: I wouldn’t say unexpected, it has just brought me closer to where I’m meant to be, and to connect with others who feel similarly.
Tatter: What is your favorite piece you’ve ever made?
Teresa: Oh tough one!
A self portrait of myself and Lola, my 14yo Aussiemix rescue.
A small piece about partnership. We don’t become one. When we join together, we’ve come from so many other experiences and connections and can share that.
Ok, one more, “Light through the clouds.” That’s self explanatory. Even if the moment seems dark, there’s always light beyond the clouds.
Tatter: What is your earliest memory of a textile?
Teresa: (!) The bedspread that was on my mom’s bed in the 70s (I bet she still has it).
Nothing out of the ordinary nor noteworthy.
It was light blue with a continuous stitch pattern that resembled Christmas tree ornaments. The material was probably cotton percale or even (gasp) polyester.
Perhaps I thought, “it must get better than this.”
If you are interested in studying with Teresa, join us in Maine for a four-day immersive shibori workshop. September 25-30, 2022.
For more information, visit our Tatter Textile Retreat website HERE.
Teresa Misagal, founder of Dailola, began traveling to Japan to study traditional shibori in 2017, spending 6-8 months per year there. She has shown her work numerous times in Tokyo, Brooklyn and New York City, and has been featured in a segment focusing on indigo on NHK television.
Teresa earned a B.F.A. in photography at Tisch NYU and worked with some of the top fashion houses over the years, including Anna Sui , Ralph Lauren, Versace and Calvin Klein, as a producer managing their runway collections.