Light and dark: completed stencil

I completed carving my new stencil today. I tinkered and tinkered with the design until I was satisfied with the shapes and curves. This is a repeating design along both horizontal and vertical axes, so I had the opportunity to work on registration skills following instructions on John Marshall’s DVD, Journeys in Katazome: Stencils. It’s so helpful watch these techniques. You can find and see several samples from the DVD on YouTube, including segments from designing and carving stencils.


Along the way I also came across a lovely little book called Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design, by Bothwell and Mayfield. According to the text, Notan is a Japanese word meaning dark-light, or more specifically the interaction of positive and negative space. The book features a wide variety of fine examples, and provides exercises that give practical insight into this principle. I have always been fascinated by the play of positive and negative space in art and design — this is one reason I am drawn to katazome.


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 “Light and dark: completed stencil”

  1. thank you, Shari… I didn’t plan on the larger fish! I’m planning to paste this one on Monday….so the dyeing process will beginning again soon.

  2. Hi Kit.Those curves create wonderful movement. Did you plan on creating some larger fish in the negative space or was that just a coincidence? Looking forward to seeing your finished artwork using this stencil.

  3. thank you, Shari… I didn’t plan on the larger fish! I’m planning to paste this one on Monday….so the dyeing process will beginning again soon.

  4. That’s a lovely design. I’ve been reading about Notan also…in the book Composition. It’s changing the way I plan new work. Your process is fascinating to read about..-= Suzanna ´s last blog ..not snow, but… =-.

  5. Hi there Kit, what fabulous work! I am so glad I have found you. Your blog is both inspirational and informative..I am completely fascinated by the craft aspect of art. When I am not painting I am printmaking, making ceramics, or books etc.. I will be spending many happy hours (probably when I should be painting ) reading all about your work and katazome.

  6. Hi Valerie – thanks for your kind words. I too love the craft of art and the art of craft — there is a quote from the book “Art and Fear” (I think..) that I’ve always loved… “craft is the visible edge of art.” I’m a huge fan of your lovely botanical drawings and paintings.

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