Katagami in Practice

Image of hands working on Katagami

MoDA’s Designated Silver Studio Collection includes four hundred Japanese katagami, traditional resist-printing stencils for textiles.  We recognized that these stencils held enormous potential for research that brings together an historical perspective with a practice-based approach.  Between autumn 2016 and spring 2018 we completed a major research project on this collection funded by Arts Council England.  Our focus was on katagami as a source of inspiration for artists and designers, both historically and today.

“Katagami in Practice: Japanese Stencils in the Art School”

MoDA’s katagami stencils date from the late ninteenth century. They represent one of the largest and most significant public collections of katagami in Britain (others are at the V&A Museum in London, and Leeds University’s ULITA).

The katagami in MoDA’s Silver Studio collection are among our most popular objects. They hold a fascination for students and creative practitioners because of the intricacy of their cutting and the beauty and stylisation of the motifs depicted.

Our four researcher/practitioners helped to expand our understanding of these fascinating objects, and to offered ways in which students can engage with them more deeply in the future.