Whatcom Museum’s “Katazome Today” curated by WWU professor and alum

diaphonous fabric panels with delicate images of a partially defoliated maple tree

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by Chris Casquilho
College of Fine and Performing Arts

Whatcom Museum’s exhibition “Katazome Today: Migrations of a Japanese Art” presents contemporary visions of a unique and historically significant Japanese textile-dyeing process. The exhibition – featuring seven national and international artists – is co-curated by Seiko A. Purdue, Professor in Fibers/Fabrics at Western Washington University, and Amy Chaloupka, Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. Chaloupka is an alumna of Western Washington University’s Art and Art History Department.

Artists featured include Akemi Cohn (Chicago), Melinda Heal (Australia), Fumiyo Imafuku (Japan), Cheryl Lawrence (Washington), John Marshall (California), Yuken Teruya (New York), and Mika Toba (Japan). 

Traditionally used for kimono dyeing, katazome involves the application of a rice-paste resist using special stencil papers with complex designs. Both the techniques of katazome, and those of the intricately hand carved stencil papers (katagami), have been passed down through generations of artisans over several centuries. The works preserve an endangered traditional technique while envisioning endless possibilities for dynamic cultural exchange.

Seiko Purdue is Professor in the Fibers/Fabrics area in the Department of Art and Art History at Western Washington University.  After receiving her BFA at Kyoto Seika University she came to the United States where she received an MA at Montclair State University and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She has exhibited textile installations widely and has given workshops on Japanese textiles (shibori, katazome, and papermaking) for many years.

Amy Chaloupka received an MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after her undergraduate degree at WWU. Prior to joining the Whatcom Museum as the full-time curator, Amy worked in the curatorial department at the Kohler Arts Center; and as an independent curator. Her independent projects included exhibitions at the Whatcom Museum, and the Western Gallery at WWU. 

“Katazome Today” runs at the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher Building from February 11, through June 11, 2023. Exhibition hours, admission, and related events are available at the Whatcom Museum website.



Fumiyo Imafuku
Cycle of Time – Memory of Place (detail)
Cotton, Silk organza
Katazome, original technique, chemical dyes
13 ft x 26 ft.
400 x 800 cm
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Makoto Yano


Yuken Teruya
My Vote series (Puma), 2009
Shoe box
13.75 x 10 x 6 in.
35 x 25 x 15 cm.
Collection of Thomas Talucci
Photo courtesy of Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Miami

Yuken Teruya
Parade From Far Far Away, (detail)
Bingata technique on linen
15 x 535 in.
38 x 1358 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Piero Atchugarry Gallery, Miami

a red shoe box with the Puma brand logo, over which is painted a floral design in black.
a very long strip of fabric or paper colored with bright splashes of primary colors and tubmling illustrations of cars.

Authored on

Dec 13, 2022 10:55am