A special workshop in Kyoto, Japan

Home – Blogs2018
All 2018 Thangka Art Blogs:  Have a Buddhaful New Year | Bintan Island thangka course | The colors of Kyoto | Sacred Calligraphy in Japan | Staying in a Buddhist temple in Japan | Special workshop in Kyoto | Painting for the Dalai Lama | Creating a Tibetan Mandala at Museum Night

A special workshop in Kyoto, Japan

Creating a Japanese wax painting

Before I traveled to Japan, there was one thing I really wanted to do: to do a special workshop in Kyoto.
As I was searching for an authentic Japanese workshop experience, I stumbled upon the Roketsu studio, an old art studio where long time ago the fabrics for kimonos were printed (see the beautiful old wooden templates on the walls).
The studio is run by a lovely middle-aged man and his old mother. Both do not speak English, but show the process of creating a traditional painting by example.

It’s a Japanese batik style painting created with hot wax.
Here I explain you the process of the artwork that took me 5 hours to make on a cold and rainy day:

On a piece of white cotton you draw/paint an image with hot wax. The wax is much more difficult to paint with than a regular paint. The brushes are pretty big and therefore much more difficult to paint fine lines.

Most parts of the painting have to be painted with wax twice, in order to create really white spots.
On the left picture it shows my artwork on the cotton: a geisha with cherry blossoms in the background and below her a pond with lotuses.

Next, the white cotton is dyed with indigo (the traditional pigment coming from the indigofera tinctoria plant) for about 10 minutes while you slowly stir the fabric.
Because of the wax that has penetrated the cotton thoroughly, those parts do not catch any indigo paint.

After the dyeing process, the cotton needs to dry for a while, and as you can see the light yellow wax is still on the cotton.
The next step is to remove the wax by melting it away in a large pan of boiling water, as you can see on the right.

Very happy with the end result!

Read more about my time in Kyoto

Read more about the Temple Food that I ate during my stay in Buddhist Temples in Japan


Read more about the special and sacred calligraphy and stamps that I collected from the temples in Japan