Wikipedia defines Katazome as “a Japanese method of dyeing fabrics using a resist paste applied through a stencil”. The stencils used are called Katagami. In Japanese, this means “pattern paper” (kata = pattern and gami = paper). The stencils were developed and used primarily for printing on fabrics for kimono.
Maiwa Handprints on Granville Island in Vancouver, has a Katazome manual.
The following is their description of the Katagami stencils .
The technique of using the katagami stencils originated in the ISE district of Mie prefecture in Japan during the later part of the eighth century, but it was during the Edo and Meiji periods (1600 – 1900) that these stencils developed into fine works of art, reflecting the superb craftsmanship and sure sense of beauty of Japanese stencil cutters. Because the Ise district was part of the feudal estate is the Kishu Takugawa family, close relatives of the Shogun, the stencil cutters in the district enjoyed the patronage of their feudal lords, and soon this district becase the center of kimono stencils supplying nearly all of the stencil used throughout Japan. It must not be forgotten that behind each kimono with its beautiful patterns there are equally beautiful stencils cut by artisans of the past with great skill and artistry. Today, stencil cutting is a dying art as there are only a very few masters of this craft still living.
To obtain fine stencils, the paper for them must be prepared in a special way in order to minimize shrinkage or stretching during the printing operation. This paper is made form two or three layers of the highest quality washi which are laminated together with persimmon juice – kakishibu. This juice is made from fermented bitter persimmons kept in a vat for several years to extract the maximum tannin content possible. The laminated sheets are dried in the sun and then smoked in a kumenjo, a special smokehouse where sawdust is burned to produce a dense smoke. The smoking process lasts a week to ten days during which the resin the smoke will adhere to the paper. This process of painting with the kakishibu juice, drying in the sun and then smoking is repeated many times over a period of six months. Eventually the persimmon tannin turns a deep brown color, and the paper becomes waterproof and extremely strong and durable.