13 December 2005
Those Pesky Fibers
Next I cut out a lot of little squares and applied the last color, a deep teal blue. What a mess! Every time I lifted a printed sheet off the block, little tufts of paper fibers would be stuck to the board. (You can click on the photo above for a larger view.) My first line of attack was to wipe the board after each print, but this wasn't adequate. The fibers rolled up into little balls when I re-inked the block, ruining the next print.
Next I tried washing the block after each impression. This worked as far as getting rid of the fibers, but made it impossible to get any consistency between prints. One of the things that happens in moku hanga when printing an edition is that the pigment builds up on the block and the brush so that after a few prints you only have to add a little bit of paste and/or pigment to get a nice impression. Washing the block after each print ruined that effect.
I wondered if the paper was just too darn wet after having been overprinted twice already, so I decided to dry all the prints and start over. I let them dry overnight, then very very slightly re-moistened them. No improvement! Fibers were once again sticking to the block. I finally finished the edition by washing the block after each impression.
It was a very frustrating experience, but I did manage to get some nice prints. This may in fact be my favorite print so far. Here's the final version: