21.11.07

katazome



A little bit of background...I was lucky enough to have spent a year of my three year textile design degree on exchange in Japan. I arrived back in Australia 4 months ago in time to complete my final semester here. During my sojourn in Japan I spent 9 months learning a traditional dyeing technique called katazome. It is an enormously time consuming and labour intensive process, but is equally as rewarding. For want of a better description, it is similar to the silk screen printing process but completely hand done...right down to cutting the stencil (which acts as your screen). I enjoyed this technique immensely and would love to have the time and the equipment to explore it further. Hopefully I will make it back to Japan for an extended period again someday.
Here are some sequential photos of the katazome process, following the progression of one design...





















8 comments:

Lara said...

oh my god that process is soooo elaborate!! how cool! So I guess you wash the grey sort of putty like stuff (whatever it is) off in the end and discard it?

Amy said...

*laughs* Yes, it is elaborate. It's pretty incredible actually! While I was learning I couldn't help thinking...*this process is hundreds and hundreds of years old...wow!*
You've got it exactly. The brown/grey putty is called 'nori' which literally means glue or paste. It is made from rice flour and water mainly, with a little salt and one chemical thrown in to stop it from going off. Once it is made (virtually like a cake mix) you can keep it in the fridge for months.
It is quite soft and sticky when applied through the stencil but the fabric is then stretched and tensioned with the bamboo rods (shinshi) to dry and it hardens. You have to be careful not to apply too much dye over the top because the paste starts to disintegrate as soon as it gets wet. So the dye is applied 2 or 3 times over (often more!) with a dryish brush and once fixative has been brushed on (to fix the dye) the paste just washes out in water. Beautiful process!

Hollabee said...

wow it sounds amazing and I'm sure it takes heaps of time but it gives stunning results.

Thanks so much for sharing and starting a blog, I would love to see more of your work.

(found you through your comment on Lara's blog)

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Wow, that's such a great opportunity to study with some textile designers over here!

Sarah said...

Oo this looks beautiful! I was talking to some students about etching today and they were asking me what the point of the process was when they could just use a computer and printer or a photocopier to reproduce an image. I tried to express to them that it's the way it was done before all that existed and that some effects can't be achieved with computers. It's the tactile nature of the process, and the history behind it, the tried an tested methods. I think perhaps it's the same with your process? (Except etching is probably young compared to this!)

Thanks for sharing this interesting process!

Kate said...

Thanks for all the pictures and an insight into this process - really interesting!

glorydaze said...

Wow that is amazing. You are so lucky to have that opportunity.

glorydaze said...

hi again. re the link question -of course, feel free, and I shall do the same.