On May 18th, 19th and 20th I ran a stencil printing and indigo dyeing workshop at Middlesex University with a group of nine undergraduate and masters students studying design crafts and fine art. The three-day workshop was designed to be a hands-on exploration of the ways in which we can be creatively influenced and informed by objects in museum collections, with a particular focus on the katagami (Japanese paper stencils) held by the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture. This was part of a broader MoDA katagami project funded by Arts Council England. After a presentation of katagami from the collection, students used drawing and writing to document their impressions. We then used the materials of traditional Japanese textile printing (stencil paper, rice paste and indigo) to create resist-printed textile and paper samples, and to explore what engaging with traditional means of production would disclose about how these intriguing objects came to be the way they are, and how they came to exert such an influence across transnational spaces of design. In the course of this practical investigation, we also thought more broadly about reflective practice, about how artefacts in museums can inspire, and about the forces exerted upon makers and designers by non-human material things.