Rozome: Japanese Batik

by - Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium

Instructor Betsy Sterling Benjamin

Author and master rozome artist Betsy Sterling Benjamin arrives from New Hampshire to teach this course in Japanese Batik. Rozome has caught the interest of fibre artists from around the world. This course gives an overview of traditional techniques and allows you to consider applying them in your own creative work. For those new to the Japanese techniques, a number of traditional wax and dye application methods are introduced. These include Sengaki (wax drawing), Hibi ware (wax crackle), and Shikibiki (wax trailing) as well as brushing, rolling, sprinkling, stamping, and stencilling wax. Students will use both traditional and contemporary tools and materials. The use of soy wax provides an exciting variation.

In addition, the course introduces Japanese dyeing techniques such as bokashi, the controlled dye shading that produces such luminous results on silk. This class is ideal for silk painters, fibre artists interested in resist techniques, and those fascinated with Japanese textile techniques. Demonstrations of all processes, historical background, and slides and video of contemporary work being produced in Japan and abroad are included. Daily concentration practices will also be part of the class.

Betsy Sterling Benjamin

Betsy Sterling Benjamin is an award-winning international artist, researcher, and author specializing in Japanese textiles. Her book The World of Rozome: Wax Resist Textiles of Japan (1996, 2002) is the first book in English on the topic and is a classic on the fine art of wax resist.

She has lectured on Japanese costume and wax-resist textiles at the Smithsonian Institution, Oxford University, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Japan Foundation, Kyoto. She is the coordinator of the World Batik Conference–Boston 2005 at Massachusetts College of Art, and curator of “The Rozome Masters of Japan Exhibition” that toured the USA in 2005 – 2006.

For over eighteen years Betsy lived in Kyoto, Japan, where she taught at Doshisha and Kyoto Sangyo Universities, participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and wrote on textiles for the Mainichi Daily News and other publications. The recipient of grants from the Japan Foundation, the Sasakawa Foundation, the Daiwa-Anglo Japanese Foundation, and the New Zealand Center for Japanese Studies, she now teaches at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.

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