Making a Katagami: Stencil dyeing from start to finish

Making a handmade stencil is not a quick job, but once it’s done you know you’ll be able to use it over and over. To make the effort worthwhile, I’d advice anyone making one to make smaller tests until they’re  satisfied with the design.  You don’t want to spend hours cutting it to find out you just don’t like it in the end.

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I designed and cut my stencil in a thorough process that lasted a few days. Then, I lacquered a silk net onto it to make it stronger, let to dry in the shade and finally began applying the resist paste.

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The cheeky glass of wine in the photo above, was only there to show the proportion ;). Anyway, I made a repeated pattern, and also single ones in smaller pieces that will become place matts.

I dyed them with natural indigo and this is the result after the paste was rinsed off:

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I wanted my stencil to repeat both vertically and horizontally and to look different from any other pattern I’ve seen. So when I was ready, I took a new piece of persimmon paper, drew and cut out the pieces I wanted to be resisted during the dying process. Making your own Katagami is fun and a challenging process that I would recommend to anyone creating their own textiles.


13 responses to “Making a Katagami: Stencil dyeing from start to finish

  1. Pingback: Indian mud resist + Indigo | T E Z U K U R I·

  2. What did you use for resist paste? I am curious.. I have tried my hand at batik, but this is so clean.
    Also any experience in katano?

  3. Thanks for the info. Where would one fond those nice thin razor blades? I have bought one when I was in Japan but it is thick….do the artisans file them down with a wet stone? I wish I could find a set of those punches they use….any idea where one would find a starter set?

    • Hi Shawn, I’m pretty sure they file them manually. If yours is too thick try a Swann-Morton scalpel, they are my favourite, great quality and you can change the blades when needed – find them in Amazon. I don’t know if about the punches, I got mine in Japan but maybe try Amazon again for those?

  4. HI I have a collection of antique katagami…i could use a couple of them but where are you getting your mulberry stencil paper? I tried to find some when i was last in Japan but had little time and was unsuccesful. Also what # scapel blade did you find most useful and was this better than the rotating blades? Thanks so much! I enjoyed your posts!

    • Hi Rita, I used to get mine in Japan when I was living there. If you ever go back to Japan I could point you in the right direction. I sometimes use a handmade scalpel, again from Japan, but the one I use the most and prefer is a Swann-Morton scalpel. I have the handle No3 with blades 10A, you can buy them in Amazon. Hope this helps 🙂

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