Soy (Soil) Pearls

To quote Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland, “Begin in the beginning.”

I’m ready to begin the katazome dyeing process. The stencil is ready and my fabric is washed. Soy milk is used both as a sizing for fabric and as a binder for the natural pigments. As a sizing it gives the fabric body and makes it easier to handle while pasting — a more paper-like surface. The pigments require a binder just like any other pigment (or paint), to adhere to the surface of the fabric (unlike dyes, which penetrate the fiber itself).

The first step then, before pasting and painting, is to make soy milk. It is easier than you might think. Here are some before and after pictures.  The beans swell quite a bit during their overnight soak in water, but peering through the water magnifies them even more.


Below, the soybeans have been blended with water and strained through a damp muslin scrap.


A second whirl in the blender with more water, a second straining, and voila, the completed soybean milk. I throw the mashed soybeans into the compost bin.



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 “Soy (Soil) Pearls”

  1. I found your blog while searching for techniques using katazome and soy sizing (I’m sure you know there’s not much info out there!). I was curious if you know the trick to applying the dyes to get an even background after the fabric has been pasted and sized? I just can’t seem to make it work! I have the John Marshall book arriving any day now, so thanks for the recommendation!
    Please post more about your katazome work , its so great to see!

  2. Thanks for stopping by. The key is that you must work with quite a dry brush, and gently scrub the pigments in. You don’t want the brush to be dripping with dye. I recommend you take a class from John some day! Also, he sells the brushes made for these techniques too! Good luck with your work!

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