Posts Tagged ‘swirlies’


May 24, 2008

Back in the office, for the first time since getting home from NYC, and now I’m trying to get caught up. I have quite a few patterns to finish and post today. The shows, the city, the museums–all gave me plenty of fodder for new ideas. I was offline for a couple of days, which was kind of nice–I took notes, gathered ideas and made sketches, and now I’m organizing and expanding my sketches into post-able patterns.

These funny little shapes were loosely inspired by a Japanese stencil I saw at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum.


swirlies reversed

swirlies 2

Here’s a picture of the Japanese stencil, plus a little info about it:

In use since the eighth century, kata-gami, or Japanese printing stencils, are laminated sheets of paper pasted together with a sticky resin made from persimmon juice. As the intricate designs are cut, the patterns are held in place with thin silk threads or even human hair. The stencil is then placed on a length of silk or fine cotton, and the color is pressed through onto the fabric. Many of the designs derive from nature, including water and wind currents, plant forms, animals, and birds.

Did you get that? These intricate little designs were cut into paper glued with persimmon juice, and they held the patterns in place with silk thread and human hair. THEN they printed on fabric by pressing the color through the stencil. Imagine showing today’s automated fabric printing techniques to the artist who made this stencil….

I drew my little swirly designs from what I remembered so maybe now that I’ve found the actual stencil reference I’ll try a design using more straight lines. The kata-gami was done in about 1780, but it looks modern.