This past Sunday I had the opportunity to give a presentation at the local Japan America Arts Forum. Started by artist and teacher Sheila Asato, the Forum is a collaboration between the Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM) and the Minnesota Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA). Each month, people interested in Japanese visual art forms and related materials and processes gather at MCBA for friendship, learning and hands on fun. Over the two-hour meeting, I gave a brief overview of katazome, shared materials and examples, and led a hands-on activity. Since each step of the katazome process is time intensive, I created a simple activity that would give participants a taste of the materials and processes. Participants drew and then cut simple stencils from Yupo (synthetic paper), and stenciled their fabric with natural pigments mixed with soy milk, trying out some of the traditional brushes, called surikomibake. Normally, rice paste would be spread through the stencils, let dry, and then pigments painted on the non-pasted areas of the fabric. So this activity was more like the Western approach to using a stencil in visual art, also known as pochoir. Many of the attendees were visual artists of some kind, and left with their minds brimming with fresh ideas! I think the results were really wonderful! If you want to see all of the photos, visit Sheila's website.