Pasting a pattern on washi; stencil surgery

Yesterday I had more than enough rice paste resist so decided to paste my new Meadow Rue pattern on two large pieces of 70% kozo (washi) Moriki paper from Wet Paint Art. I have wanted to make folded paper blinds for a room in our house, and this paper is the perfect size. The pasting worked well — I didn’t size or treat the paper with konnyaku (see previous post), but lightly misted it with water to relax/flatten it. This task was good practice pasting a repeat. The paper measures 25″x39,” so I pasted 3 columns with my approx. 9×12 stencil, starting in the middle and working vertically down the length of the paper, and then the column closest to me. Finally, I rotated the paper 180 degrees to paste the far side. The indoor/outdoor carpeting worked well as a firm yet slightly giving surface underneath the work.

rice paste in meadow rue pattern on kozo
rice paste meadow rue pattern on kozo

I plan to paint the paper with soy based pigments, and look forward to learning how well the paper holds up.

When I was nearly finished pasting, my stencil began to buckle a bit. This became especially noticeable after soaking it to remove the paste, as if the silk netting shrank. I am not sure why this happened since I followed the usual steps in attaching the netting including misting the stencil paper to swell it, aligning the weave appropriately, two coats of paint, air curing, etc. So, I carefully removed the netting and redid the lacquering step (using latex porch floor paint).

stencil front
stencil front
stencil back
stencil back


More layers, a non-traditional approach

I am using katazome tools and materials in a non-traditional way with this piece. I have added paste and and dye layers, approaching it a bit like a painting but more backward and indirect. It will get 3 or possibly 4 more layers before I set it aside. In the beginning I drew out the composition, and had a sense of what stencils I would make and incorporate, but I did not plan the precise order of how various layers would come together. One part planning, two parts seat-of-my-pants, kind of like life.
Here I’ve pasted a new stencil based inspired by¬†Meadow Rue leaves in my garden.

pasting over a newsprint mask


the stencil removed
meadow rue leaves 

Variations on a theme


I’ve been working on several wall hangings simultaneously this week. Two make use of stencils I’ve used for pillow designs. I feel they will work better on the wall. I’ve added imagery below each bird portrait to lengthen the format, using stencils representing singular elements — water, grass, trees. Below they’ve been pasted. I under-dyed the base fabrics with two brushed-on washes of osage (on the blue silk) and fustic, (on the off-white silk twill). I used powdered extract dyes made by Earthues.


The house piece combines various stencils and temporary masks – it’s a bit of a problem-solving exercise. Below is stage one. I am using a freezer paper block out for a tree that will ultimately be in the foreground. I also made a stencil from a Tyvek envelope and tried to make it sturdier by “lacquering” it with porch floor paint and nylon tulle, in an adaptation of John Marshall’s method. It didn’t work too well — the netting is coming away from the Tyvek and causes the whole thing to curl a bit, even w/spray on adhesive. There really doesn’t seem to be a good substitute for a shibugami stencil if you are working with katazome techniques and materials, but I wanted to experiment with this less expensive alternative. Tyvek holds up very well in water. It could be a reasonable substitute for a stencil that you don’t intend to use a lot.