The Colors

Imagining a “garden at dusk” led me to paint several layers of dusky colors in a very light value on the entire surface of the cloth, using soy milk and natural pigments. I would never have used the vintage white damask formal linen tablecloth for dining purposes. My cloth is long enough for two instances of the stencil, which was created from a full sheet of stencil paper. The finished image will be approximately 16” x 30.” Placing my stencil on the cloth before pasting allows me to see where the background colors fall within the stencil design. Before pasting the design (rice paste through the stencil), the stencil and the bamboo stretching sticks–“shinshi,”–soak in water.

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Garden Imagery, Stencil Design

My new katazome stencil was inspired by the Robins I wrote about in my last post and by the late spring/early summer garden. I started with sketches on newsprint of plants and a nest, and then chose the shapes I liked best. For the plants, I settled on Hosta from the garden and Wood Anemone, a native wildflower that I discovered growing just down the street in a city park. I worked out the composition by drawing shapes on black paper, cutting them out and arranging them on a white background. I then transferred this design to the back of the stencil paper (shibugami). I found these really great white opaque ink pens called Uniball Signo, which show up very well on the dark brown stencil paper. The nearly-final stencil in the bottom image still has a few narrow bridges that will be cut away during the next step of the process, which is to reinforce the stencil with silk netting, or “sha.”

Beginning katazome workshop offering

I’m offering a beginning katazome workshop in my home this September, over 2 consecutive weekends, Sept. 7-8 and Sept. 14-15. Please check my [workshop page] for complete details.

NOTE: as of 8/23 the workshop has been cancelled.

The workshop is limited 4 students. I’m wishing for warm sun so we can work outside as much as possible! 

Last week I began to work on a katazome piece, combining stencils in a way I have not done before. Decades ago a large window in our front porch was covered over with framework and stucco when a garage was put in. A former owner made a loose landscape painting on canvas, and bolted it to the wall to cover up the ugly 3×5′ spot. I’ve wanted to replace this with something more meaningful. So I made a composition using 3 different stencils on a piece of 12 oz. cotton duck/canvas. The photo below shows the canvas after these stencils have been pasted. None of the stencils were designed for the compositional space.  While working, I masked some areas and allowed other areas to dry partially (i.e. to the not-so-sticky state) before pasting right next to them. This was a tricky process but I think the weight of the canvas made it easier.

Once the paste was dry, I painted on the natural pigments rather freely, softening  the hard edges where the rectangular parts of the composition meet. My intention is to paint a stanza of a favorite poem over the central water pattern.

In a week I’ll rinse the paste off and share the result here.