Seiko Purdue curates Katazome exhibition in Italy

a pair of hands gently remove a thin stencil from a piece of fabric on a table

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by College of Fine and Performing Arts Staff

“Katazome: Japanese textile art from the US (Pacific Northwest)” curated by Seiko Atsuta Purdue, is an extension of the winter 2023 exhibition at the Whatcom Museum. The new katazome exhibition is open from December 1 through 23 at at the Textile Museum of Chieri in Turin, Italy.

For the exhibition at the Textile Museum in Chieri, Purdue highlighted her art students’ works, as well as the work of Cheryl Lawrence, one of the participating artists in "Katazome Today" - the earlier exhibition at the Whatcom Museum.

The participating Western students are: Sarah Trinneer, Keely Sandoz,  Iris Christensen,  Ryan Fisher,  Lindsey Ha, and Jude Klemmeck. Klemmeck graduated from Western in spring 2023, while the rest are current Western students.

“Katazome: Japanese textile art from the US (Pacific Northwest)” focuses on the diaspora of a unique  and historically significant Japanese textile dyeing process. Traditionally used for kimono dyeing, the katazome technique requires the application of a rice paste resistant to the color over hand-carved paper stencils (katagami) before dyeing the fabric so as to obtain a well-defined ornamental motif.

Purdue created her own Katazome work for the first time since 1989 because she thought that it was important to be a part of this Katazome exhibition. Although she has been teaching Katazome for more than 25 years, she usually doesn’t use it for her artmaking. She also incorporated her own research on natural dyeing for this exhibition. She wanted to highlight her students’ works that are using katazome as an art form.

The Turin, Italy exhibition is the result of the collaboration between Fondazione Chierese per il Tessile and Seiko Atsuta Purdue, with the support of Western Washington University. Curated by Seiko Atsuta Purdue, the exhibition is coordinated by Linda Smeins, a former WWU professor in collaboration with President Melanie Zefferino, professor at the Albertina Academy in Turin.


Top: Detail of a stencil called a katagami creating the katazome textile.

Middle: Spittlebugs on Salmonberries, 2023 (Logwood, madder, sappanwood on silk) a katazome print by Western student Sara Trinneer included in the Turin, Italy exhibition.

Bottom: Seiko Purdue carefully lifts a katagami stencil from a katazome print.

a katazome print of spittlebugs on salmonberries
an artist lifts a thin stencil from a piece of fabric on a table

Authored on

Dec 21, 2023 6:56am