Katazome (stencil dyeing)

Katazome includes several Japanese dyeing techniques that use stencils to create repeated patterns. 



Katagami (stencils) may be washed and reused many times. They are hand cut from kozo hand-made paper that has been stiffened with shibugaki (persimmon juice). Open motifs are held together with fine silk thread. Large open areas are reinforced with fine silk threads.


Preshrunk silk is stretched over a wooden board, then a stencil is placed on the material and a resist paste (rice flour, bran, and blue pigment) is spread over the stencil with a spatula. This is done twice. The blue color makes it easy to see the stenciled motif.

Silk is stretched lengthwise with harite clamps that are tied to posts, and the width is held taut with shinshi that arch over the fabric (pins at each end of the shinsi pierce the selvedge of the cloth and keep them in place). Soybean sizing is brushed onto the silk, then a variety of colorful dyes are painted onto the resist-free areas.


Colorful dyes are hand painted onto the stenciled, stretched silk.


A rice dye-resist is squeezed out of a tube over the color designs to protect them, sawdust is spread over the paste, then the background dye is brushed over the surface. The dyed fabric is steamed, then the resist paste and excess dye is washed out of the cloth in running water. It was traditionally washed in streams. After the cloth has dried, it is steamed again.
These pictures were taken at Kuriyama Koubou, which specializes in dying kimono lengths in the Okinawa style. To arrange for a tour (400 yen) or a dying workshop (1000 yen; needs to be reserved 3 days in advance), please contact them at:

23 Takahana-cho
Kyoto City, Japan
Telephone: 075-861-4203

Shibori in Kyoto, Japan 
Washi (handmade paper) in Kurotani, Japan
Batik of Java and Bali, Indonesia
Ikat Weaving in Bali  
Margarita Orozco, Papermaker  in Mexico
Los Leņateros Papermaking, Printmaking, and Book Arts Studio in Mexico
Printing in China 
Ikat Shawls of Uriangato and Moroleon, Mexico
Backstrap Woven Shawls of Esperanza Valencia Morra of Morelia
Backstrap Weaving School at Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico
Backstrap Weaving in Jacaltenango, Guatemala
Gobelin Tapestry Weaving in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico 
Toba Sashes of Argentina with Pickup Motif
Cane baskets
Haida cedar bark hat maker, Gladys Vandal
Tapestry Crochet
Los Leņateros Papermaking, Printmaking, and Book Arts Studio  
Adinkra in Ntonso, Ghana
Ashanti Kente Weaving in Bonwire, Ghana
Ashanti Kente Weaving in Adawomase, Ghana
Ewe Kente Cloth Weaving in Denu, Ghana 
Painting and Baskets of Sirigu, Ghana   

Recommended Book:
Textile Art of Japan by Sunny Yang and Rochelle M. Narasin.

Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura in 2006. Please look at Carol's home page to see more about crafts around the world.