A belated Happy New Year, 2019 – Year of the Pig!
After a late start I have finished my 2019 Year of the Pig Lunar Calendar wall hanging. I tried a different type of stencil paper, called Wax-O stencil, but it didn’t hold up so well. It is a very heavy waxed paper, a dream to cut, but did not hold up to the wet rice paste resist. Consequently, I only made 4 of these, 3 of which are for sale here in my online shop.
2019 is off to a good start for me. I’ll be teaching a 3-day beginning katazome class during the last weekend in June at Grand Marais Art Colony on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Please watch my blog for further updates. Better yet, add your email address into the form at right and you will receive blog updates through email.
Katazome is traditionally done on fabric, but can also be done on paper with good results. The trick is choosing a paper (and pigments) that can be soaked in water for about 30 minutes.
I tried this new stencil as a single image (rather than repeat design) on handmade Japanese kozo (mulberry fiber) paper. Because the paper must be soaked to wash off the rice paste resist, it must be a paper that can withstand that. I had done a few experiments with katazome on kozo in the past, so knew that kozo would be a good choice. I haven’t yet tried watercolor paper, but that is also a possibility. In addition, the pigments used must be able to stand a soaking in a water bath. I mixed my pigments with soybean juice (just as with cloth), and once the work is dry, the colors are locked into the paper because the soybean juice acts as a “protein polymer” when dry. (This is how John Marshall describes it in his book, Salvation Through Soy.
Here is my new piece, Garden at Dusk. I chose two dark values of blue/green and indigo for the final colors. I brushed these on in four layers on the open areas of the cloth (i.e. not covered with rice paste resist), drying between each layer. I then added a few accents/shadows using a very dark value of indigo and black pigments.
After about 5 days, the paste was soaked off in water. I wanted to keep this piece simple and high contrast because I think the design works pretty well with just two values–dark and light. The paste crackled a bit and so you can see lines across the surface of the background where the color got through. The pattern you can see around the edges is the pattern woven into the linen (damask).
Back to my original inspiration – The Robins, so inspiring to me this spring, left this nest under our back porch roof after only one bird fledged from their second brood. Three perfectly formed beautiful blue eggs in a home of mud, twigs, grass, and other dried plant material from the garden.