A exhibition featuring beautiful, delicate paper stencils from Japan  recently opened at University of Leeds textiles museum and runs until 7th December.

‘Katagami – the Craft of the Japanese Stencil’ is at ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles, and celebrates one of the archive’s major collections featuring Japanese textile dyeing stencils.

“Through drilling, punching and cutting, a variety of astonishingly detailed and intricate designs were cut into mulberry paper”, said Jill Winder, ULITA’s Curator. “These stencils were used for dyeing designs onto clothing ranging from everyday workers’ clothing to the finest silk kimonos.”

Guest curator Dr Alice Humphrey, who wrote and curated the new show with Jill Winder, added: “This exhibition introduces the techniques of making and using the katagami and explores its imagery. It is drawn from two of the largest public collections of katagami in Britain.”

Although produced simply as tools, the katagami themselves have come to be appreciated as beautiful objects in their own right.  The designs amount to more that decoration. Whether evoking a season, carrying wishes for longevity and good fortune, or containing an entire folk story, every katagami has a story to tell about the fashion and culture of Japan at the time.

Katagami – the Craft of the Japanese Stencil features 40 katagami, including stencils lent by the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA), and stencil-dyed clothing lent by Leeds Museums and Galleries.

ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles, St Wilfred’s Chapel, Maurice Keyworth Building, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT (next to Leeds University Business School). Open Tues – Thurs 9.30am – 4.30pm & Fridays by appointment.

For further information, visit ulita.leeds.ac.uk, or contact 0113 343 3919, ulita@leeds.ac.uk


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