As fiber art gradually became my medium
I took up first embroidery and then quilting and surface design. In 1994 I was introduced to katazome, or stencil dyeing, which uses a paper stencil
to apply rice paste resist before dyeing or painting the fabric. I had studied
and adored traditional Japanese stencil designs for nearly 30 years, but carving my first stencil was a turning point
in my artistic life and I have never looked back. I have also been privileged to
study with the American katazome expert John Marshall.
While I enjoy the subtle patterns of the hand dyed fabrics many fiber artists use, I prefer to make my own fabric with recognizable imagery and finely detailed patterns. Katazome allows me to separate the production of the image from the application of color, a process more akin to printmaking than to painting.
I began carving stencils using mostly traditional Japanese
patterns, because they could teach me so much about cutting techniques and the
layout of the design. (see Allinson Gallery or Carolyn
Staley Gallery for lovely examples of antique stencils.) I consider the time
spent carving those stencils my "apprenticeship". I am now designing
my own stencils, inspired by the images which speak most deeply to me, organic
patterns and the plants and marine animals of the Pacific Northwest. I have also been teaching katazome for classes across the US and Canada.