Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Our Sakura cover showcases a reproduction of an original piece of “katagami” art. This particular piece is an example of a katagami painting, which would have been cut out and turned into a stencil. The word Sakura means “cherry blossoms” in Japanese, a motif that is found in this traditional design.
“Katagami” is the formal name for the art of Japanese stencil design. While the ancient art can be traced back over a thousand years, these particular pieces are of a more contemporary era from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The stencil is traditionally made with all-natural material from the earth, using the inner lining of mulberry bark and juice from the persimmon fruit which acts to laminate and waterproof the finished stencil paper.
Each step of the process is thoughtfully and artfully undertaken to create an intricate and masterful production that paves the way for other mediums to take on its form.
Katagami designs are found all throughout Japanese culture, predominantly in both art and textiles from beautiful silk screens to ornate kimonos. The time and skilled craftmanship dedicated to this art form is remarkable and representative of the beauty of the country’s traditions and people.
With Japan’s art being so rich in diverse materials, an incorporation of the exquisiteness of nature in its tools and form is always present. This Sakura design is named after the Japanese word for “cherry blossom,” the national flower of Japan. The blossom is both intricately and gracefully presented on this journal cover. The cherry blossom is placed using Katagami stencils and is a continuing metaphor for the transient nature of life.