A Day to Relax and Reflect on the Katazome Workshop

It was oh so nice to be in my air conditioned house today for yet another day of horribly hot, horribly humid weather.  And Beth, you were right.  The 3 pounds I lost the first day are right back.  Guess they missed me.    That’s the difference between staying cool in air condtioning vs “glowing” in the warm meeting room. 

Here is the picture of my feather piece at stage two:


It’s going to be hard to wait a week to wash out the resist.

And here is a picture of my scarf:

The backstaining I was talking about is more evident in the design on the right side.  Please remember to double click on the image so it will be enlarged.  You’ll be able to see the color migration better.  The printed image is supposed to be clear, crisp, and white.  This is not earth shattering, but it was disappointing.  I’m still planning on overdyeing it. 

As I think back on the workshop, I wish I had cut only one stencil – from a design I had brought with me.  I can understand why it was a good idea to use something from Karen’s selection.  They were designs that worked well for stencil making, and at the level we could all successfully cut, but I’ll probably never use them again.  I’m not a floral type of person, and I usually don’t work with Asian designs.  I had a great fish from Dover’s free images, and really wanted to cut that.  No rice paper or silk mesh came home with me so I could cut another stencil, but who knows?  If I feel ambitious, I might purchase the supplies at a later date.

This is a wonderful technique to learn.  We came out of the workshop with the knowledge to create our own stencils and print images.   The written word – Karen included a handout with the class, combined with the visual demonstrations, followed by us physically doing all the steps, covered all the bases on how to learn. 

I also appreciated the fact that we could reuse our mixing bowls, measuring spoons – any equipment needed to prepare for Katazome – to prepare food.  Rice paste (what we used for the resist) isn’t toxic.  The soy milk we made (which was the  protein mordant) is also safe.  The stencils will survive beyond my life expectancy, and didn’t require any plastic.  This is one stencil technique that is green as green can be.

I was not a big fan of the muted colors though.  While I appreciate subtle color shifts and greyed hues on other people’s work, it’s not my style at all.  I like vibrant colors.  I adore red.  There is no true red in the pigments. 

The piece I saved to paint at home (Thank-you, Julie for thinking of that idea.) will be a juxtaposition of two aesthetics – a Japanese inspired stencil, combined with my love of using vibrant color.  It might be great, it might be horrendous,  but I’ll be happy as a clam painting it. 

As an artist, I personally think it’s a good idea to take every opportunity to learn something new.  It might be something we reuse ,or it might spark another idea, and it’s always good to be in a room filled with other artists.  Our conversations were lively and varied.  This was an extra perk of taking the class.

In closing, this post has gotten pretty long, here is a picture of the little critter I talked about yesterday:


Red fox are such pretty animals.  We watched a pair of them playing with each other all through June.   This one must be darn smart, because my neighbors raise chickens, and eventually trap all the fox in the area.  I’m rooting for this one  to survive. 



2 Responses to “A Day to Relax and Reflect on the Katazome Workshop”

  1. DJ Langer Says:

    You are a very talented lady. I had no idea you had a blog….I used to go to your Dry Goods site….before my computer crash and now I can’t find it. That was explained on one of the machine knitting groups. I hope you will be able to get it going again. I went to the sight looking for the Penny Sock pattern. I now have 2 machines with ribbers and was crazy to start learning to knit socks with them and I remembered that in the past your pattern was recommended. Is there some way to get the pattern? I don’t mind paying for it.
    Thanks, DJ in SW MI

    • dianemiller Says:

      Thank-you so much for your kind words. I will be getting my website back up again, and The Penny Sock pattern will be posted again. It’s been free for ages, and will stay free. Thank-you for offering to pay for it, but it’s not necessary. I’ll be sure to let everyone on the machine knit yahoo group know when the site is back up and running.

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