Shibori silk on display at The Art Lounge

Jean Carbon with her Shibori silk pieces hanging at The Art Lounge in Willow Street. Photo: Supplied.

Raglan artist Jean Carbon’s exhibition at The Art Lounge NZ is a soft flow of mandarin colour, with swathes of hanging silk floating gently in the air.

The exhibition, titled Reflection on Dawn, is being curated by Sonya Gilbert as part of her internship to learn about the facets of a business.

Sonya is a third-year Waikato University Bachelor of Business student, and chose C’Bon Textiles to showcase Jean’s fashion work, which utilises the ancient resist dyeing techniques of Shibori and clamped blocks to pattern sumptuous silk fabrics.

“Jean has travelled around the world to obtain her fabrics, but she’s also learned the art of Shibori through traditional craftspeople,” says Sonya.

Jean Carbon's Shibori silk pieces hanging in her redwood glade in Raglan. Photo: Supplied.

After 16 years of teaching fabric technology, Jean completed a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Technology at AUT in Auckland, and is now a full-time artist living and working from her Raglan home.

There, students can stay in separate self-contained accommodation while participating in Jean’s live-in workshops, learning the art and techniques she uses.

“My passion is fabric; its history and origins, and the many ways it can be patterned, coloured and decorated to create garments or works of art,” says Jean, who is exhibiting her work in Tauranga for the first time.

Jean Carbon's Shibori silk made into garments, on display at The Art Lounge. Photo: Supplied.

Jean enjoys travelling the world to obtain her fabrics from places such as Tanzania, often combining her love of mountaineering with her fabric pursuits. She learned the art of Shibori from traditional craftspeople while staying with them in remote villages. Although this form of dyeing is rather labour intensive it enables a more targeted approach towards the pattern design and its placement into a unique fashion garment or piece of art.

Her work, which also includes scarves, cushions and garments, is sold and exhibited throughout New Zealand and she is available for bespoke commissions of artworks and one-off garments.

Sonya Gilbert and Veronica Baker at the opening launch of Jean Carbon's exhibition. Photo: Supplied.

Sonya Gilbert, a volunteer at The Art Lounge NZ curated the exhibition as part of her internship paper for the University of Waikato’s Bachelor of Business degree.

When her lecturer introduced her to Jean’s work, she thought Jean may like to exhibit this side of the Kaimai Range.

“I had a team of people who helped with the install under the guidance of gallery curator and artist Mira Corbova,” says Sonya. “Fans will create a gentle flowing movement of the fabric and extra lighting will showcase the spectacular colours to their full effect.

“This is an exceptional experience of art and I’m happy Jean is finally exhibiting in Tauranga.”

Jean Carbon's Shibori silk pieces hanging in The Art Lounge. Photo: Supplied.

There are 11 four-metre drops of silk making up the complete exhibition at The Art Lounge.

Jean Carbon’s Reflection on Dawn silk art and design exhibition opened at The Art Lounge, 117 Willow Street, on Friday July 23 and runs until August 4.

Jean Carbon’s textile work can also be viewed on Facebook and at


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