Brushing eyes, combing toenails, flossing knees, and buying butts at the supermarket.
CARTER SMITH MASTERING SHIBORI ZEN
“The innate energy to create - call it Zen”, Carter Smith explains as he folds up one of his large wall-size silk pieces dyed in black, a rich shade of olive, and every tone in between. With 25 years of dyeing experience and multiple iterations of perfecting and re-perfecting his craft, it’s no wonder that top designers including Donna Karan are rushing to educate their design teams on his unique Shibori technique.
Shibori is the ancient Japanese craft of tying, folding, and twisting fabric to dye unique patterns. In the west, it’s commonly known as tie-dye. Carter Smith however, has a method uniquely his own. A self-taught designer, Carter created his method in 1965 and although he took some time off in between, he always found himself drawn back to his craft. However it wasn’t until further in his career, when Carter reexamined his initial designs that he realized “in perfecting a technique, you take all the life out of it”. At that point, Carter explains that he had to start over again from the beginning. Buddhists believe that to reach Zen, one must realize that to have nothing is to have everything. Similarly Carter explains that knowing nothing is knowing everything. Which means? “In order to move forward, we have to start over again…to find oneself, one must be willing to be lost”. In looking into each design, noticing the symmetry, the tactical use of juxtaposed colors, one cannot imagine less profundity behind each of Carter’s pieces.
For Carter Smith, the creative process starts within the whelms of his dreams. He channels that creative energy and lets it guide him as he dyes the print before his in-house design team drapes and tailors the individual fabric into wearable pieces. His muse is every woman, inspired by her femininity, the pieces come together to accentuate and flatter every shape and form. Carter’s Shibori technique looks like it will be an ongoing process of perfecting and un-perfecting, through envisioning and then re-envisioning.The exhibition was in collaboration with handbag designs from Glen Miller for Ann Turk and on show on the second floor of Dejavu in Manhattan.
By Tina Shimizu