The trip mostly focused on Katazome.
There are five basic categories of stencils. Your eyes may glaze over reading that but stick with me through these next few blogs.
Kiribori is the oldest technique. It is carved with a semicircle awe like this one. The carvers make their own tools. The size of the semicircle determines the size of the hole. The tools increase in minute fractions of diameter.
The tool is held carefully at a 90 degree angle to the stack of six persimmon tannin papers (You can see them bound together with the white paper threads.) and a slight twisting action against a deerskin thimble of sorts drills/cuts the hole.
It is supposedly the most difficult of the five techniques. There were once hundreds of Kiribori stencil cutters. There are only a few left who work at this level. We were particularly interested shark skin patterns this time and the master carver was kind enough to give us a private demonstration.
Rice paste is scraped over the wet stencil and later dyed, then the paste removed. The shark skin pattern was usually dyed with indigo. The stencil carver explained that there were no indigo craftsmen capable of dyeing this pattern left.
Chemical dyes like this purple are used.