2011 Lunar Calendar giveaway: katazome on kozo

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.)


Layers explained:

  1. Paper: handmade Japanese Hosokawa kozo, from Wet Paint Art in St. Paul. Final size of print: approx. 9×22″
  2. Rice paste for the letters, numbers and moon grid – one stencil.
  3. 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.
  4. Rice paste for the image of the rabbit.
  5. Three more layers of dark blue.
  6. Some hand painted highlights.
  7. Layer of burnt sienna on rabbit, from a cutaway of the original gelatin plate.
  8. 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 …

Good luck!

Lunar calendar print, part 2: haste makes waste!

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 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!

Paper, rice paste, gelatin plate … lunar calendar in the making

I’m making a lunar calendar for 2011 — a little late … but wait …. there are still 12 full moons left in 2011!  This idea has been percolating for quite a while. I mocked up my design while I was visiting Maine this past October. My sister had found a great set of old brass stencil letters at a junk shop so we had to play with them! Here’s a peek at the design. I cut the moons from a stencil plastic.



I reduced the design by 50% to make it easier to handle for printing. The final image will be approximately 22″ x 9″. I’m using some Japanese Kozo from Wet Paint Art. I cut the stencil from a tyvek mailing envelope. I didn’t want to use shibugami paper. The tyvek is easy to cut with an Xacto, but not as delicious to work with as shibugami. Tyvek, like shibugami, is nearly waterproof.


Below is the first stage of the calendar after “printing” the rice paste. Keep in mind that the paste masks the color of the paper and will prevent the color from reaching it. I used strips of tape on my carpet table as an alignment guide for the paper, and also taped the top edge of the stencil down to the carpet.



When the paste dries it makes the paper buckle a little, but this is not a problem. I am printing the calendar with a gelatin plate. I’m using my hand as a baren, to smooth the paper onto the plate, ensuring that the paper reaches the ink. The ink in this case is opaque watercolor, which I have thinned with a few drops of soy milk.



Today I printed the 2nd layer of paste, using my small rabbit stencil for this “Year of the Rabbit.”

On Friday I’ll post the final stages and the final print. If all goes well, I’ll give away one print in a drawing and put the rest on my shop.