This past Saturday I took a workshop at Zea Mays Printmaking called "Monoprinting Without a Press" with Joyce Silverstone. I was looking for ideas/techniques that I might be able to combine with moku hanga that could offer a looser look and more organic process. I didn't create any pieces at the workshop that I was wild about, but I got to explore many different techniques (additive and subtractive methods of building a plate, stencils and masks, drawing through the paper into the ink) and various materials (Akua Color inks, oil inks, plexiglass plates, clayboard plates). My favorite method from the day was creating a print on clayboard. Unlike plexiglass, the surface of the clayboard is somewhat porous, so it soaks up a lot of the ink yet resists enough of it to also pull a print. The print and the matrix can thus both be considered finished pieces, each with a very different look. Here is the print I made, on kitakata paper:
And here's the clayboard matrix (click for larger view):
I used rollers, a rag, and paper stencils to achieve this look, and I'm quite sure I'd never in a million years be able to reproduce what I did! I have no idea how I got those sweeping marks on the print, or why there are gaps in the blue that look like stars. Monoprinting is very different from woodblock in that it's so unpredictable.
One thing that I'm very anxious to try with moku hanga is printing with my hands instead of using a baren. I absolutely loved using my hands to transfer the image - it's so sensual and immediate. The workshop gave me lots of new information to work with.