Studio Improvements, Tool-making, Fabric Stretching

Since my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of preparation work for dyeing fabric. I’ve lacquered stencils, which involves using water-based floor paint to attach silk “Sha” to the front of the stencil. John Marshall’s Website has complete instructions.

lacquered stencil detail
lacquered stencil detail

We modified my studio a bit to allow me to stretch fabric in preparation for soy sizing and dyeing. Ray mounted one of my temporary walls onto a sliding mechanism like those used for closets, so I can access the concrete wall behind it to attach a handle for tying a rope. I made my own “Harite”, or fabric clamps, which you see in this picture.

Stretched fabric, with shinshi on underside, harite (fabric clamps)
Stretched fabric, with shinshi on underside, harite (fabric clamps)

This morning I made soymik, sized the fabric, which prepares it to receive the pigments. I also made rice paste today. The rest of this week will be devoted to pasting stencils and dyeing.

The photos below are from Serizawa, Master of Japanese Textile Design, a catalog of a major exhibit of Serizawa’s work that was shown at the National Museums of Scotland in August-November of 2001. Serizawa, a master of Katazome, was designated a Living National Treasure in 1956, and was a member of the Mingei (Folk Craft) movement founded during the 1920’s by Yanagi Soetsu. The Mingei International Museum Website has a wonderful video clip about Serizawa.

Serizawa Keisuke  in fabric stretching yard, Tokyo, 1982
Serizawa Keisuke in fabric stretching yard, Tokyo, 1982
Noren by Serizawa Keisuke
Noren by Serizawa Keisuke

As you can see, climate and weather permitting, you can dye your work outdoors. John Marshall has a fabulous outdoor space in Covelo California for teaching and working, which I experienced in 2004. Here in the north country, I won’t be able to work outside until at least May 15th. We visited Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis last weekend. The rose bushes there are still deeply mulched with dried leaves from last fall. The locals were out in droves to walk around nearby Lake Harriet in 60 degree weather for the first time this year! We weren’t looking for roses, obviously, but wanted to join the joyful throng around the lake.

Lake Harriet Rose Garden
Lake Harriet Rose Garden
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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.

7 thoughts on “Studio Improvements, Tool-making, Fabric Stretching”

  1. What an interesting and complex procedure. I have never come across anyone here who makes art this way and I am looking forward to seeing the next stages. John Marshall’s site is very interesting, and now I am off to check out the link to Serizawa Keisuke.

  2. kro designs, thanks for visiting! I think we are following each other on Twitter, and I have enjoyed scrolling through your blog today!

  3. Kit, the new work is beautiful, even tho the technical challenges are many. Love the cone flower stencil & egret! Looks like decisions are left & right during the process. The colored cone flower looks like a watercolor painting!

  4. kit-
    never have tried katazome-yet. will be going to Japan in May and one of the things on the schedule is a workshop with the Tama 4 group at the silk Study Center where they will treat us to some hands on katazome work. love that photo of the fabric all stretched out!

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