Global mindfulness - how we engage, consume, connect with our world - is a touchstone for Ibu. We take great care to collaborate with artisans who are using natural materials and techniques that honor and transform the gifts of the earth into handmade garments, jewelry, and home accessories. Working to offset the damaging impacts of “fast fashion,” Ibu intends for these beautiful creations to last and become a well-loved addition to your collection.
A decorative sewing technique using a needle for construction, Needlework includes textile crafts like embroidery, knitting, and crochet.
A needle and thread piercing multiple layers of recycled cloth in a running stitch - either row upon row or in a pattern or design - is called Kantha, and can be found throughout parts of India and Bangladesh.
In Uzbekistan, women embroider on stretched fabric with a hook needle, looking at the back of the fabric until the very end, when the design is revealed on the reverse side.
A traditional embroidery employed in Morocco, soutache is a narrow, flat braid in a herringbone pattern. Both woven into trim as well as formed into buttons, soutache embellishes the jackets and djellabas ubiquitous in that country.
Natural dyes from local leaves, roots, and tiny insects have been used in DYEING techniques to provide sumptuous colors for thousands of years.
A complex and labor-intense process of counting and wrapping threads with a tight vise of rubber, leaves, or thread, then immersing in dye multiple times. Once complete and rinsed, the threads are warped on a loom, never quite perfectly, which creates the slightly blurry effect of ikat.
In China, silk is beautifully stained by the tannins in a particular river delta, then left outside for months to cure, coated in charcoal, which gives it a strong and lustrous sheen.
Before a cloth is dyed, parts of it can be clamped, tightly sewn off, or drawn with hot wax so those constricted areas don't take the dye. When the blocking method is removed, the undyed section reveals the pattern. Called shibori in Japan; batik in Indonesia; tie-dye in the US; and clamp resist in many countries.
Creating and utilizing Beads―often made with locally-available materials such as shell, clay, and horn―is an ancient practice found the world over.
Beading on Cloth
In Haiti, women work together on a stretched fabric to bead from the underside - the finished product developing below.
In most of Africa, men weave; women bead. Working with wire or thread, beads are accumulated and manipulated into jewelry known the world over for its colorful complexity and cultural identity. We offer pieces of beaded jewelry from South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, and indigenous groups in Colombia.
The Diné, often referred to as Navajo, carry their own tradition of beading on deerskin, creating designs which reflect their symbolic universe, their aesthetic sensibilities, and especially their attention to light and its properties.
Weaving is the action of creating textiles through interlacing threads, and can be done on intricately-warped looms, or by braiding together distinct fibers by hand.
Back-Strap Loom Weaving
A venerable tradition, thousands of years old, back-strap loom weaving is still practiced by women indigenous to Central and South America. A belt-like strap around the hips holds the portable loom in place; the other end is tied to a tree, and the rocking movement of the weaver tightens and then relieves the tension so that a shuttle can pass through the warp threads. At the end of the day, it wraps up and tucks away in the home until the next use.
In the city of Aurangabad, an ancient technique of complex weave was almost extinct when an Ibu partner began to revive it. The large looms utilize jacquard cards to determine each throw of the shuttle into a fine design.
Caña Flecha Weaving
In Colombia, indigenous women have long employed the fibers of their region to create baskets and jewelry unique to their group. The Zenu use a grassy plant called caña flecha to weave by hand many Ibu cuffs and napkin rings.
Before it is spun into thread, sheep's wool is flattened and shaped into designs, then moistened and pounded into a base cloth. Rolled up and gently beaten, the fibers adhere to one another and form a solid cloth. Many of our silk/wool felted pieces are created this way in Kyrgyzstan where nomadic women for centuries have been making felted rugs for their yurts.
In Rajasthan, India, wooden blocks are carved and used to stamp cloth with their pattern.
Mola Reverse Appliqué
Women of the Kuna (or Guna) group, indigenous to the San Blas Islands of Panama, have migrated into Colombia and continue their famous reverse appliqué. Multiple layers of cotton cloth are brought together; the top layer is then cut away, the edges turned under and sewn by hand to reveal the colors below.