Surface Design

Katazome or Japaneses handpainted paste resist

Much of our apparel is designed using katazome, a Japanese dyeing method using a paste resist applied through a stencil and an intricate handpainting process. This traditional technique requires minimal water and chemical use.

Paste (made of rice bran and flour) laid inside a stencil. When paste is dry, the fabric will be treated with homemade soy milk to ensure crisp edges within the design

Each of our stencils is is cut by hand from special, durable paper (a special treat for Ali, who as a printmaker loves carving the stencils!). The resilient mulberry paper used for the stencil is treated with persimmon juice to make it strong, flexible, and relatively waterproof. After preparing a paste of rice bran and rice flour, we lay the paste in the stencil design and allow it to dry. Then we can begin painting our shirts with pigments made of our natural dyes.

Pigment painting butterflies on a special order skirt. Pigment (dried concentrated dye substance) is mixed with homemade soy milk to create a natural “paint” that can be applied directly to the fabric.

Once we’ve applied a couple more coats of pigment, we either repaste the entire design and redye the entire piece (to get a different color behind the design) or leave it naturally colored. We let the dye “set” for a few days, rinse out the paste, and the item is ready! A large difference from the processes used to create industrial apparel, but we believe the individual beauty of each resulting product makes it worth it.

almost done!


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For more information on Katazome, it is imperative to first check John Marshall