Katagami in Practice: Project Launch

MoDA’s Katagami in Practice project ran from September 2016 until April 2018.  Find out more about the participants and their areas of research interest.

Introducing the Participants:

Caroline Collinge is a designer-maker who comes from a costume and performance background. She has a long interest in Japanese crafts of origami, and in the way in which fabrics move when worn on the body.  As part of this project, Caroline developed a costume to be worn for a filmed dance performance, entitled Waves.

Mamiko Markham was born in Kyoto and grew up making katagami from a young age. She has a deep knowledge of the symbolism of the motifs used in katagami design and in the techniques used to make them.

Mamiko’s work for this project included analysis of  the katagami using an infrared camera. This revealed marks such as stamps and signatures which are not visible to the naked eye, enabling Mamiko to accurately determine the dates, geographical origins and makers of each specific stencil.

Dr Alice Humphrey’s interest in katagami stencils is from a rather different angle. Her PhD at Leeds University looked at the analysis of spirals in decorative designs.  Her interest in this project was in using mathematical modelling to determine how the effects of light and shade are created in the stencils using only varying thicknesses of line.  Alice developed an online tool for manipulating designs using this method.

Dr Sarah Desmarais is a textile designer maker and crafts researcher.  She produces handprinted silks and hand-sewn garments using traditional means: drawing, resist printing and hand-dyeing.  She is interested in the distinctive characteristics of slow, skilled, labour-intensive manual crafts practices.

In this project Sarah focused on the relevance of MoDA’s katagami to art and design students, and explored the value of drawing and making with traditional materials – rice paste, stencil paper and indigo – as ways of developing a deeper understanding of the museum’s collection.

This project was supported by Designation Development Funding from the Arts Council England



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