August 28, 2009

Katazome at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

I truly enjoyed teaching Katazome (rice paste resist with natural dyes and pigments) class this summer.  It was intense; all students worked early morning till late night.  Luckily the weather was sunny and warm.  Natural dyes need such kind of weather.  We used traditional Japanese fabric stretchers (shinshi and harite).  We started to cut stencil paper with knife.  Cook rice paste and spread out through stencil on fabric.  After drying the rice paste, paint.  We used fabric paints first, then sumi ink and natural mineral pigments from Japan.  Finally, applied natural dyes, such as madder root and cutch with alum and iron mordents.  We also used natural indigo making a dye vat.  Wish we could have much time to combine indigo and other natural dyes.  It creates beautiful shades.  Well,,,next time.  

August 26, 2009

KATAZOME: attaching net

Akemi I guess I forgot how you make stencils stronger by painting it with acrylic paint and adding the net what do you do first do you paint stencil and then add net to wet paint???That is my question because it seemed when I painted on net and stencil there was some paint which remained on net Thanks elizabeth

Answer from Akemi: Place special silk gauze "sha" (or net) on already cut out your stencil paper.  The net is the same size or slightly over as your stencil paper.  Face up.  Dilute the acrylic paint with water to flow smoothly.  Coat acrylic paint with a flat brush on the net and stencil paper.  Brush from the center to the edges.   After 5 min. - 20 min., flip over up side down, and remove bridges with knife. So, the timing is important. Not too wet, not to dry. If the paint is completely dry, it is hard to remove the bridges from the net.  If too wet, move the net, stick on your fingers,,,it makes mess.
If paint is thin coat, brush again with acrylic paint after cutting bridges.
NOTE: the above is for synthetic stencil paper use.  If you use a traditional stencil paper, "SHIBUGAMI", the procedure is different.

August 24, 2009

The followings are some questions from my former students.  I think it is good to share information because some of you might have similar problems.

"I have a couple of questions for you, Akemi.  When I create more paste resist work on silk, 1) what weight and type of silk do you like best, what wears well?  I saw some nice silk broadcloth at the SDA conference, from Exotic silks, that looks good, a nice even weave, good weight  and 2) the silk that I used for our workshop is still a bit stiff from the paste, do I have to wash it more to remove it, or can I leave it as is?  Would it last longer if I washed it?  I also wonder if it would gum up my sewing machine too, if I don’t get all of it out?  3) do you use anything to seal the fabric, like Scotchguard spray?" from Valerie Bashaw

1. Recently I use silk organza.  It can be applied 2 or more layers to print at the same time.  I like medium weight of sateen.  Wool & silk blend also work beautifully.  Row silk doesn't work.

2. Stiffness comes from starch of rice paste (sweet rice flour).  Dip in a warm water to remove starch.  Be careful!  If color comes out, take out the fabric immediately and put it in a cold water. Repeat.   Then apply vinegar or hair conditioner.  It makes soft. It was not enough rinsing if the fabric is stiff.  

3. I don't seal the fabric.  I asked to be framed when the art work placed in a dinning hall.

"when you prepare stencil with paint do you put net down after paint is on and still wet because I put paint down on top of net and it seems like net picks up a tiny bit of paint so it is not as clean Also I do see how different silks pick up resist  patterns in different way but I am having trouble getting the clarity  that I got in class hard to get the right balance of back round color so the piece pops any suggestions" from Elizabeth Jenkins

1. Do you mean "paint" as color rice paste?  I don't exactly understand the situation. If so, the net side is up.  Press slightly harder.  So, color rice paste goes through the net.  If paste is hard, it leaves a net mark on the fabric.  

2. You are right.  Depending on fabric, the impression is very different.  Therefore, I use it as a metaphor.  I interlaced sateen silk and hand woven row silk on my art work.  It shows different colors based on "different (cultural) back grounds.  

In addition to silk, choosing colors, thickness, combination of colors, etc. makes impression different.  I think it makes the image richer and more interesting.

Suggestions: -Use one type of silk for a while.  You will get familiar of the silk.

-Limit your color pallet, maybe 6~8 colors.  If some colors are too aggressive, mix small amount of dark color or black to tone down. 

-Keep color sample and recipe.


Laura's house in New Harmony was truly lovely!  It is a country setting with a large vegetable garden.  Her inspiration comes from those vegetables, fruits, bees, gardening tools, flowers and plants.  Because of her terrific sense of design and imagination, she created wonderful art work, and they fit nicely in her home with warm atmosphere.  Her husband, Ben is a great gardener  and organize placements so well.  I was impressed by his sharp eyes in 3D (of course, he is an architect and teaches at the school of the art institute of chicago).  She invited interesting people for Rowland at her house.  Tons of delicious vegeables from their garden.  What a treat!!!  It was precious and unforgettable time of my stay in New Harmony.

exhibition info.

"immanent blue"
by Rowland Richetts
Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art in New Harmony
8/22-10/4  2009

New Harmony

I went to see Rowland's show in New Harmony.  I also wanted to see Laura (Foster Nicholson) and her home.  
at New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art
I liked a lot about Rowland's work which are from 3 elements; lined millions of felted stones on the wall, indigo dyed fabric panels, and indigo plants on the floor.  His indigo colors are so transparent even it is deep.  It tells us a gradual color change of indigo.