Shibari is a performance art form that has grown from being a niche practice on the BDSM scene to a popular passion for many men, women and couples throughout the West. Perhaps the movies, like the Pleasure of the Rope and Fifty Shades of Grey has contributed to surge in interest.

At Mannequin Madness, we’ve seen an increase in customers who come to our mannequin warehouse in the SF Bay Area to buy an mannequin for their Shibari needs. In yesterday’s post, we gave examples of the type of mannequin to buy if you want to display your finished Shibari rope designs. Today’s post is about the type of mannequin to purchase to practice your techniques.

Shibari-style rigging creates geometric patterns and shapes with rope that contrast beautifully with the human body’s natural curves. It takes a lot of time and study to master this, so we sell a lot of mannequins to people who need a human canvas to practice on.

The photos above are from a Shibari practitioner in Germany, who uses a plastic female 3/4 torso as his canvas.  Plastic is good because if you drop the form while rope tying, it won’t break. We have a wide variety of new and used plastic and fiberglass torsos. I recommend you get a torso with nipples, the more pronounced the better.

Instead of the armless plastic torso, most people prefer a cloth dress form with bendable arms, partial leg and on a stand. The stand provides a more stable canvas and you can adjust the height of the form on the stand. They also like the organic texture of the cloth, with simulates the texture of the rope.

In a screenshot from this youtube video of Shibari master Kinkoko Hajime in his studio, he has multiple dress forms with flexible arms and fingers and half legs.

We sell male and female body forms that are almost identical to the ones in his studio, but with a different stand.   

His stands appear to be custom made provide more stability as he works. If you put additional weight on our metal stands (wood or concrete blocks), they should provide the stability you need.

The flexible arms on the form are an added bonus to practice on. However  you might want to permanently secure the limbs (liquid nails) to the form.  Since you aren’t going to remove the arms to dress the mannequin, you want them secure so they don’t pop out when tying them with rope.

Other people prefer dress forms with articulated arms because they want to have joints which more closely mirror a human body. It comes down to a personal preference, but whichever one you choose, just make sure it has the half leg.

Speaking of leg, for those who want complete full legs versus the half leg there are fully articulated life size mannequins, but they tend to be pricey ($500 and up).

Other options are fiberglass mannequins that are in submissive poses like this female mannequin in a kneeling position with her ankles crossed.

Or a pose like this with the arms flailing.

Or a dramatic spread eagle pose, with visible nipples and arms positioned as if she is in the throes of ecstasy.

The arms on fiberglass mannequin don’t bend but you can rotate the arms in the shoulder to create different poses. They might look a bit contorted, but perhaps that is the impact you want.

Whatever style of mannequin or dress form you choose for your Shibari practice, we have something that suits your style in our Shibari mannequin collection.

For Shibari Tutorials and information on Worldwide Shibari events visit the Art of Contemporary Shibari blog. If you are in the SF Bay area where we are, Shibari classes are taught at Bondage Erotique.

Although in Shibari, the rope master has traditionally been a male, women are starting to become rope binders instead of being the one bound. There is an international  organization Hitchin’ Bitches that provides a safe space for women to learn to tie in a peer-to-peer format.

Feel free to leave comments below if you are aware of Shibari classes in other cities.

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