Soaking up, catching on

I ran out of rice paste working on a long piece of my minnows and mussels pattern with 2 repeats to go. With each experience like this I refine my understanding of the amount I need to make. Nevertheless I decided to go ahead and dye the work. I tend to make my rice paste a bit too thick/dry, and along with this, the paste was cracking a bit. This is not something I want generally, but you could encourage cracking on purpose and make it work as in batik. There are a couple of additives that can help prevent cracking — salt is one, glycerin is the other (either/or). I dissolved a bit of salt in water for this batch, which is supposed to help the paste hang onto humidity. As it is still winter here, the air is quite dry. More water and more salt next time.

I really enjoy how a fresh layer of wet dye shows up the contrast in the pattern. It makes me anticipate the final wash-out. This photo shows the 2nd of 3 layers of pigment dye in progress. The ochre+rust I used to make orange is at this point the same value as the rice paste. The indigo is just that — oxidized indigo pigment from an indigo vat.

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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.

10 thoughts on “Soaking up, catching on”

  1. Great colors! Interesting to think about how you figure out how much paste you’ll need for a project. I had to do the same with the yarns I dye for a project. A process…

  2. It is very very mysterious to me…the process. Definitely indigo is something I hope to learn more about for cloth making. Your pattern reminds me of the schools of minnows that abounded in the waters where I grew up, and the mussels my step-father captured for wonderful soups and stews. Thank you..-= Suzanna´s last blog ..Bye Bye Black Heart =-.

  3. Thanks for the sneak peak. The indigo and orange are perfect for your swirling water scene. Can’t wait to see the third layer. I find it interesting that salt can help prevent cracking.

  4. I think the trick is learning how much salt to use based on your particular climate and studio environment.

  5. Yes… mystery… there is always an element of surprise when you build up layers like then then wash out the rice paste. I always look forward to that!

  6. I’ve started writing notes after each studio day on things like that to help me remember quantities and what did/didn’t work.

  7. Keep up the good work. I am also on this path and learning about the Katazome rice paste resist recipe and its day to day needs. I had heard that salt and/or glycerin work to prevent it from drying so hard. The glycerin helped keep it from drying out and being soft, which might help you if yours keep cracking. And that salt helps draw in moisture. I love this blog.

  8. Wonderful, a kindred katazome practitioner! There are always so many variables w/rice paste, not the least of which here is the weather! Lately I’ve been using salt instead of glycerin. Seemed to work well this week! Thanks for your visit and comments.

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