Eight students at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles were introduced to the traditional Japanese technique of katazome, or stencil dying.
The two-day introductory workshop was taught by internationally known fiber artist John Marshall of Covelo, California. Students will be learning how to prep the materials used in the process such as soy milk and making a paste from sweet rice flour, as well as dying piece of fiber using stencils.
Known for his one-of-a-kind wearable fiber art using natural dyes,
Marshall has been practicing katazome for close to 45 years.
"There's a beauty and long tradition that goes into Japanese textiles," Marshall says.
He learned the technique during a five-year apprenticeship as a doll maker in Japan, starting when he was 17. Marshall explained that doll makers create everything from scratch, including but not limited to carving the statuary of the doll, weaving the silk for their clothing and blowing their glass eyeballs.
Katazome was the step Marshall enjoyed the most and decided to make a career out of it when he came back to the U.S. after his apprenticeship.
"What I try to do with my own work is to incorporate the key aesthetic elements of Japanese costuming and so forth," he said, "but make it so that it's approachable for Westerners."