I’ve conquered procrastination (just this once) and have made a 40″ long set of “harite” (Japanese fabric clamps for katazome). Each set I make gets longer. I started with 20″ wide. This set will allow me to stretch fabric up to 36″ wide.
Every Sunday evening I make a little plan in my head a
bout what I want to accomplish during the week with my artwork. Reality often doesn’t exactly match this little plan, so I’m often behind. I stretched and soy sized two lengths of fabric this morning, and made rice paste.
I’m also thinking about color palettes. I made this test of the natural pigments (using the pigments straight out of the jar mixed with soybean milk) on a natural flax color linen/cotton blend. That vermilion really makes my heart beat!
Since my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of preparation work for dyeing fabric. I’ve lacquered stencils, which involves using water-based floor paint to attach silk “Sha” to the front of the stencil. John Marshall’s Website has complete instructions.
We modified my studio a bit to allow me to stretch fabric in preparation for soy sizing and dyeing. Ray mounted one of my temporary walls onto a sliding mechanism like those used for closets, so I can access the concrete wall behind it to attach a handle for tying a rope. I made my own “Harite”, or fabric clamps, which you see in this picture.
This morning I made soymik, sized the fabric, which prepares it to receive the pigments. I also made rice paste today. The rest of this week will be devoted to pasting stencils and dyeing.
The photos below are from Serizawa, Master of Japanese Textile Design, a catalog of a major exhibit of Serizawa’s work that was shown at the National Museums of Scotland in August-November of 2001. Serizawa, a master of Katazome, was designated a Living National Treasure in 1956, and was a member of the Mingei (Folk Craft) movement founded during the 1920’s by Yanagi Soetsu. The Mingei International Museum Website has a wonderful video clip about Serizawa.
As you can see, climate and weather permitting, you can dye your work outdoors. John Marshall has a fabulous outdoor space in Covelo California for teaching and working, which I experienced in 2004. Here in the north country, I won’t be able to work outside until at least May 15th. We visited Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis last weekend. The rose bushes there are still deeply mulched with dried leaves from last fall. The locals were out in droves to walk around nearby Lake Harriet in 60 degree weather for the first time this year! We weren’t looking for roses, obviously, but wanted to join the joyful throng around the lake.
I washed the rice paste out of my sample, and here are the results, along with a couple of photos from my Sunday walk through Reservoir Woods. With this process, there is virtually no pigment wash out. Amazing. I will go ahead and use this fabric for my next project. The soy milk, used before dyeing as a sizing and then as a binder with the (pigment) dyes, gives the fabric more body and makes it easier to iron when it wrinkles.