Process of creating Ise Katagami
Ise Katagami is a traditional Japanese handicraft (tool) with a proud history of over 1,000 years that involves dyeing textiles with patterns such as yuzen, yukata, and komon. Katagami are created by carefully chiseling sculpted patterns and kimono designs onto processed washi paper. Making these patterns requires highly advanced technique, perseverance, and patience. In April of 1983, the Ministry of Trade and Industry recognized Ise Katagami as a traditional handicraft (tool).
Paper manufacturing process
n addition to the advanced engraving technology, the paper that is used for dyeing must be strong and non-stretchable. This paper is called katajigami, it is traditionally processed by veneering Mino Japanese washi paper using persimmon tannin and then smoking and drying it.
About 200 to 500 sheets of washi paper are cut into standard dimensions.
Three sheets of paper are veneered vertically, horizontally, and vertically along the eye of the paper using persimmon tannin.
Paper that has gone through the attachment process is stretched on a fence and left to dry on a sunny day.
The dried paper is put into a smoke chamber, and the approximately one-week long smoking process creates difficult to stretch brown katajigami. Once more it is soaked in persimmon tannin and then dried and smoked again. After the surface has passed inspection, the process of making katajigami is complete.
Shimabori (pull cutting)
A uniform striped pattern is engraved using a ruler and a carving blade. It may seem like a simple process, but the same place must be traced over three times with a small blade in order to make one stripe, so an advanced level of technique is required. There may be up to 11 stripes engraved within the width of１cm. This carving technique requires use of a thread holder.
Tsukibori (push cutting)
Five to eight sheets of katajigami are placed on a perforated plate and pushed forward to make vertical carvings with a 1mm~2mm tipped chisel. Stretched fabric may be fastened to it for further reinforcement. Straight lines or large patterns are created by pulling the chisel toward to the carver. This technique imparts the design with a unique, warm feeling because the grooving has a slight sway to it.
A chisel which has been engraved with patterns such as flowers, fans, or wheat stalks, is used to carve out a variety of patterns. This method begins with creating the chisel, and the performance of the tool has a strong influence on the outcome of the finished product. One of the greatest features of carving with these tools, is that the patterns are uniform, and a variety of shapes can be expressed. This is one of the general techniques used to created Edo-komon and is also known as “gottori”.
This technique can be used to create types of komon including same, gyogi, tooshi, and arale patterns. A chisel with a semi-circular edge is placed vertically on the katajigami and small holes are carved as the cone is rotated. There are some pieces that have around 100 holes within one square centimeter. Although the pattern may appear simple, this technique is incredibly difficult and complex.