Thursday, 26 August 2010

Katazome Technique

When teaching students about katazome they often freak out because they "can't draw". I found an easy way around this and it eliminates the hours of them torturing themselves over what pattern to cut in the stencil. I simply cut some flower or branch from the garden and have them trace the shadow on the persimmon paper. Then using a clever technique of a Japanese blind as a way to keep the stencil strong I have them cut out the pattern. You get a flower behind the screen look. It always works.

I held a blooming yellow iris last spring well Eri drew the outline on the paper. The stencil turned out wonderful. Here, I had her dye it with indigo. We re-pasted/resisted the material and then dyed it over ten consecutive days with persimmon tannin to get the deep browns. (Persimmon tannin needs a heavy dose of ultra-violet rays to change color.) The interference pattern where the stencil was slightly ( intentionally ) offset gives the work a retro-Asian shabby-chic look.

Eri was clever and used the technique to carve a stencil of grass and insects. We paste resited the edge of a soft cotton Japanese towel/scarf tenugui . It came out so cool and elegant that other students have asked to use her stencil to make their own. It has been a scorching hot sweltering summer. A light delicate tenugui not only makes you feel cooler just looking at it but functions well as an elegant sweat wipe.


  1. Your work is so beautiful, so exquisite, I would like to be one of your students one day...

  2. Bryan, I'm really enjoying these updates. Beautiful work. Hope I can get back to Japan sometime before long to perhaps visit!

  3. the indigo/persimmon creates wonderful colorwork. very fine.

  4. Brilliant stencil technique! I look forward to reading your archives now that I've found your blog!