Tiny steps working with katazome techniques

I am testing some 50/50 linen cotton fabric I’ve had packed away to see if it is suitable for pillows I want to make. I have been threatening to make the transition to katazome techniques using natural pigments and dyes since taking the workshop with John Marshall in the summer 2004. I am inspired by the tools, materials, process, and results, and I feel it fits sensibilities. My baby steps this week were satisfying. I was/am afraid of the labor intensiveness of the process, because I am basically a lazy person, but so far I don’t think it is any more labor intensive than what I have been doing with fiber reactive dyes and all the chemicals, etc. for years. In fact, it may be a bit simpler. We shall see. I think Mr. Marshall was right, “soy milk is the ambrosia of the Fiber Gods.” After allowing the fabric to cure for a minimum time (i.e. several days) I will wash it out and post more photos.


Author: Kit

I use the materials and techniques of the Japanese art of katazome (paste resist stencil dyeing) to capture my experience of nature. My work celebrates daily meetings with the wild birds, plants, and lake breezes of my local urban surroundings.

2 thoughts on “Tiny steps working with katazome techniques”

  1. The stencil leaves a pin sharp image on the cloth-but I am not sure about how you apply 3 coats of pigment and still keep the image sharp..forgive my lack of understanding-I’m not a printer! Do you keep the stencil in place for the 3 coats? The stencils are so beautifully textured and so evocative of trees.

  2. Hi Judith — Thanks for your comments. The image is “printed” with rice paste through the stencil first. The rice paste is VERY much like glue, as you probably know. So the images you see in the photos are the rice paste, creating a mask on the fabric to resist the dye pigments. When painting with soy pigments, you must use a very dry brush, i.e., you dip the brush into the pigments and wipe the excess on the edge of the dish, then sort of scrub the pigments in. The brushes are designed to withstand this. The rice paste won’t budge unless you get it very wet. It may get a bit more like leather as you are working, but this all dries rather quickly.

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