The Japan Society is pleased to announce a special online talk on Katagami with researcher Mamiko Markham, Head of Collections at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA) Zoë Hendon, and practitioner Sarah Desmerais.
In tandem with this event, Sarah will also lead a practical Katagami Workshop (date TBC).
Katagami are Japanese resist-printing stencils for textiles that were originally used for applying patterns to kimono cloth. In the past, Katagami stencils were created simply as tools; they were part of the process of dyeing coloured designs onto cloth used to make anything from everyday work wear to the finest silk kimonos. More recently katagami have come to be appreciated as remarkable and beautiful objects in their own right.
Many examples of katagami were acquired by European museums and art schools, and by design companies such as the Silver Studio. The stylised motifs and sinuous lines of the traditional katagami designs had a strong influence on Western design and decorative art, particularly Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
They continue to hold a fascination for creative practitioners today, not only because of the beauty and stylisation of the motifs depicted, but also for the slow and sustainable nature of the traditional methods.
For this special event we are delighted to welcome three experts to speak about katagami in their historical Japanese context, their impact on Western art and design traditions, and their continuing influence on contemporary artistic practice.
Mamiko Markham was raised in Kyoto from an early age in an environment of traditional Japanese arts and crafts, in particular, weaving and dyeing of Kimono textiles and received strict trained in using Katagami for Yuzen. She has extensively researched throughout Asia to broaden her weaving and dyeing knowledge as an independent researcher and educator and has provided material for fashion textile journals, lectured in Japanese universities and museums, worked as a textile researcher for NHK television and in several Asian countries for UNESCO, educating in fashion development and later organizing international fashion exhibitions with woven Ikat.
Mamiko researched the 400 Katagami in the Silver Studio Collection of MoDA, revealing detailed information such as dating, origin, and production techniques. At ULITA (University of Leeds) she provided a lecture and workshop on using Katagami. Currently she is producing an article about Katagami for the Journal of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society, and involved in analysis of the 20,000 Imamura collection in Nagano, Japan, of 18th and 19th century Katagami.
Zoë Hendon is the Head of Collections at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA). Her research interests relate to the collections at MoDA, particularly the Silver Studio Collection. Further research interests include wallpaper, textiles, the history of art and design education in the UK, and the influence of Japan on Western art and design.
Her work on the influence of Japan on the Silver Studio resulted in an exhibition at MoDA (Sept 2009-Aug 2010), and a publication: The Silver Studio and the Art of Japan (Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, 2014) Between 2016 and 2018 she headed a research project entitled Katagami in Practice: Japanese Stencils in the Art School, funded by Arts Council England.
Sarah Desmarais is a textile designer maker and crafts researcher. She produces hand-printed textiles with the traditional materials of Japanese katazome or stencil dyeing - paper stencils and a rice paste resist that is washed out after dyeing to leave a white pattern on a coloured ground. Her designs derive from drawing and mark making in a variety of wild and weathered landscapes. Her work celebrates the value of slow making and its potential to contribute to a more sustainable culture of textile production and consumption. She is the recipient of a 2019 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust award to take part in a research trip to Japan. She has recently undertaken artist residencies with Bow Arts and the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, and supervises doctoral research at the Royal College of Art.
*Main images: 'Oho Nami' (Great Wave), 'Hyotan' (Gourd) and 'Suehiro' (spreading out like an open fan) katagami stencil, 1850 - 1880. K2.85. 'Sakura' (Cherry Blossom) pattern katagami stencil, 1850 - 1880. K2.42. Image Courtesy of Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University
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