I completed carving my new stencil today. I tinkered and tinkered with the design until I was satisfied with the shapes and curves. This is a repeating design along both horizontal and vertical axes, so I had the opportunity to work on registration skills following instructions on John Marshall's new DVD, Journeys in Katazome: Stencils. It's so helpful watch these techniques. You can see several samples from the DVD on YouTube, including segments from designing and carving stencils. Here's the link to John's introduction.
Along the way I also came across a lovely little book called Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design, by Bothwell and Mayfield. According to the text, Notan is a Japanese word meaning dark-light, or more specifically the interaction of positive and negative space. The book features a wide variety of fine examples, and provides exercises that give practical insight into this principle. I have always been fascinated by the play of positive and negative space in art and design -- this is one reason I am drawn to katazome.