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.
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.
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.