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.
I rinsed my 2011 lunar calendar today. Not-hurrying gave the colors a chance to cure. Not hurrying is always a wise approach.
To rinse these, I floated them in shallow water in the bathtub, front-side down (just 2 at a time). After about an hour, I drained the water, and then gently placed them face-up in the tub. I poured water from a pitcher over the top surface to rinse all the rice paste residue away. I did not touch the paper with anything other than the water. Finally, I placed them face-up on a towel to air-dry. The operative word here is GENTLY.
Here are the results:
Below is a close-up of the bottom portion (a wee bit darker image). The ampersand in July is my way of calling attention to the extra NEW moon that month (formerly I said blue, I meant NEW.)
- Paper: handmade Japanese Hosokawa kozo, from Wet Paint Art in St. Paul. Final size of print: approx. 9×22″
- Rice paste for the letters, numbers and moon grid – one stencil.
- Light blue for the background (e.g. behind the rabbit). Colors consist of watercolor paints thinned with soy milk, rolled on a gelatin plate and transferred to the paper by placing the paper on top of the plate, and gently rubbing with my hand to ensure contact.
- Rice paste for the image of the rabbit.
- Three more layers of dark blue.
- Some hand painted highlights.
- Layer of burnt sienna on rabbit, from a cutaway of the original gelatin plate.
- Two gentle mistings of soy milk, drying in between (not sure this was necessary).
To enter the giveaway, please post a comment below, consisting of three words or phrases that best express your intentions for the new year. I will choose one winner at noon CST on Valentine’s Day and add a comment to congratulate the winner. The rest of the prints (9 of them) will be added to my shop over the weekend.
Here are my three for year of the rabbit: take notice, explore playfully, loosen my grip …
After 2 layers of paste, and 3 layers of color, this morning I floated one of my lunar calendar prints in water to dissolve the rice paste. After swishing it a bit, I could see that the top 2 layers of color were washing away, leaving only the first blue that I applied.
soaking paste off
My hunch is that I washed it out too quickly, and since the first blue was applied about 3 days ago, the soy on that layer had sufficient (just barely?) time to cure. Time is a variable for katazome on fabric — you must allow the soymilk to cure/oxidize for several days at the very least, locking the colors into the fibers. I think this must be true for paper as well.
Here’s the difference between the washed print and one still curing in peace and quiet.
Tonight I will add a final “glaze” of soymilk on the remaining prints, adding a bit more Payne’s gray while I’m at it (this color looks like indigo) and then allow the prints to cure for 3 or 4 days before washing them out. I saved my gelatin plate anticipating I might need it again!