Reflections on teaching katazome

This past week I taught an overview of katazome at the Textile Center of Minnesota, introducing a group of eight students to the process, with a focus on hands-on experiences with the raw materials. Over Thursday evening and Saturday (9 hours in all), we pasted stencils, made two kinds of rice paste, made soy milk, and painted with natural pigments. I did a soy sizing demo (in a slip of the tongue I made up the word “soysing”). There was much preparation on my part, including pre-sizing fabric, and cooking up a batch of paste for the first evening. As planned, I brought a selection of my own stencils to practice pasting (no time to create them in this short time period). The lively and innovative group enjoyed playing with rice paste on both fabric and paper — squeegeed the rice paste through thermofax screens and rolled it onto linocut stamps. We also made a batch of rice paste resist using a Japanese rice bran available locally at United Noodle in Minneapolis. I was really energized by the experience! I’ve posted many photos from the class on my silver minnow facebook page.
A few photos:

The photo above compares two kinds of rice paste resist. The dry rice bran from the local source was more coarse, as was the finished paste (the one on the left). Perhaps one could try sifting it through a fine mesh sieve.


Each student brought a frame, but pasted more fabric than could be stretched, so we used the wall and push pins to stabilize the extra work while the paste dried.


I bought a limited palette of 6 natural pigments. This was still plenty to get lots of color!

A lot of things had to happen simultaneously to pack so much into nine hours. I look forward to teaching again, next time incorporating stencil design and cutting, and perhaps stretching the course across several consecutive weekends.