Considering a New Dye Brush

I need to purchase another jizomebake brush, used to brush dyes (or soy sizing) on larger areas of the cloth. I own one, but it would be helpful to have a somewhat smaller one to use only for colors. John Marshall is the only USA source for this as far as I can tell. Yesterday I came across a wonderful article, Painting with Indigo by John Marshall, published in the Turkey Red Journal last spring. The article shows wonderful examples of John’s expertise and unique style, and describes the uses of soy milk as a pigment binder for painting on textiles, specifically with indigo. In 2006, John sent out a small New Year’s gift to his students (image below). This is one of a series of small pieces he created based upon the symbols of the Japanese zodiac. The work is about letter paper size, natural dyes on a slubby-textured silk, more like broadcloth than raw silk. 2006 was the year of the dog. I love the sweet, slightly mischievous expression on this dog’s face!

Dog
Year of the Dog – Katazome on slubby silk by John Marshall

Studio Improvements, Tool-making, Fabric Stretching

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.

lacquered stencil detail
lacquered stencil detail

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.

Stretched fabric, with shinshi on underside, harite (fabric clamps)
Stretched fabric, with shinshi on underside, harite (fabric clamps)

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.

Serizawa Keisuke  in fabric stretching yard, Tokyo, 1982
Serizawa Keisuke in fabric stretching yard, Tokyo, 1982
Noren by Serizawa Keisuke
Noren by Serizawa Keisuke

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.

Lake Harriet Rose Garden
Lake Harriet Rose Garden