Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Katagami in Practice: Japanese Stencils in the Art School

The Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA) has been awarded funding from Arts Council England to support a major research project on Japanese stencils from the Silver Studio Collection.   

The Silver Studio Collection at MoDA includes around four hundred Japanese katagami, traditional resist-printing stencils for textiles, dating from the late nineteenth century.  They were acquired by designers working in the Silver Studio as a source of inspiration.  The Silver Studio was a commercial design studio that operated from 1880 to 1960, producing designs for wallpapers and textiles.  MoDA’s collection of katagami is one of the largest and most significant public collections of katagami in Britain (others are at the V&A and Leeds University).   

The katagami in MoDA’s Silver Studio collection are among the Museum’s most popular objects.  They hold a fascination for students and creative practitioners because of the intricacy of their cutting and the beauty and stylisation of the motifs depicted.  As such they hold enormous potential for research that brings together an historical perspective with a practice-based approach, focussing on the importance of this kind of collection as a source of inspiration for artists and designers, both historically and today.  

This project will employ four researcher/practitioners to investigate and respond to the collection between October 2016 and March 2018.  Their brief will be to consider MoDA’s katagami from a variety of perspectives, both historical and practice-based.  We intend that this research will enable us to contribute to ongoing international discussions about the place of katagami as objects which transition between East and West, and between past and present.  The project will also develop new approaches to the use of katagami within current teaching in Art and Design.  

Full details of all the participants and their research areas will be announced here next week.


  1. I was there for two weeks and it's awesome, a lot of things that you could see and enjoy with, very advisable tour

  2. I've had an afternoon with some of the amazing stencils at MODA and enjoyed the experience. I'm keen to find out what's going on with this new project. Do I have to sign up in some way to be kept informed and to participate?

  3. HI Roy
    we will be sharing more details of the Katagami project on this blog as it develops, so you could just keep an eye here; or you could join our mailing list for regular updates ( if you haven't already done so. Thanks for your interest!