I visited the katazome exhibit I told you about yesterday and was left paralyzed with delight. The artist, a woman professor at a Kyoto art school artist, a woman professor at a Kyoto art school does katazome, but that is where the similarity ends. Her work is monumental in size, richly detailed and textural and lushly colored. Her inspiration for many years has been the sights and textures of Viet Nam. There was a video presentation that showed her technique and it was amazing. For those of you who know a little about katazome, it was a real departure from what I do. She uses synthetic stencil paper in very large sheets, without any silk mesh reinforcement, even when the lines were quite detailed. My suspision is that the strength of the synthetic paper makes that possible. She draws the detailed cartoon on the paper and edits as she cuts. The fabric is stretched tightly in a frame the size of the stencil and the paste she used seemed to be made mostly from the sticky rice flour, with less of the rice bran I use to keep the paste from sticking too hard to the fabric. The workshop where I am going tomorrow uses similar paste to cover painted portions of the design before painting the background. The dyes are acid dyes which must be steamed into the fabric and are much more penetrating than my pigments so probably the paste must be tougher. Anyway, this running on does nothing to explain the beauty of her work. You will just have to wait until I get home so I can show you pictures.
The rest of the day I did normal sightseing. I am amazed at the creativity of the Japanese, young and old, in combining wardrobe pieces . The results range from elegant to frankly odd but it is clear they are not just slopping through life without thinking about what they are wearing. We could probably stand to imitate that a little in the US. Actually the New Yorkers do a little better than the Corvallis-ites in that regard so maybe it is a big city thing, but the Japanese have such a history of paying attention to costume that they really take it to a new level.