27 September 2006

Carefully Carving Cuneiform

Carving Cuneiform

The bottommost portion of the print (see sketch in my last post) will be filled with cuneiform writing. I carved the outline of the area first, did the rough clearing, and then pasted a xerox of the writing onto the block for the fine carving work. This is almost crazy, to carve this, but I want cuneiform writing at the bottom of the print, so carve it I will.
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It is one of man's curious idiosyncrasies to creat difficulties for the pleasure of resolving them. (Joseph deMaistre, 18th century philosopher)

9 comments:

Ellen Shipley said...

This is so much fun. It's like getting the next installment of a story. 8-]

Kris Shanks said...

I'm sure you're wearing your magnifying lenses for this! And I'm so impressed with your carving skills. The quote is particularly apt for any kind of woodblock printmaking.

David Harrison said...

That's wonderful. It reminds me of old tablets in a museum or that book "The Story of Writing". Very mysterious!

Michael Fraley said...

Very beautiful, Annie. It's interesting that you've taken a tablet (or block) with the script marked into it, and you're taking another kind of block completely and carving the script in relief. Re-creation through a completely different technique, which is what I try to do myself (in my own faltering way) from time to time.

Annie B said...

Thanks, everyone. The great thing about working with an archaic language like this is that there are only a handful of people in the world who would be able to recognize the mistakes I made!

Beth Zentzis said...

Anne, I don't know if you'll read this comment, as you wrote this post a few months ago, but I am also completely taken by Islamic/Middle Eastern art, architecture and craft. I am curious, because I too wanted to incorporate cuneiform into a piece of work, as to how you used your reference work for your art without worrying about copyright infringement. Or maybe you did and found a free resource. I checked out some sources, and they seem to require a little sum for use, especially for using the image for somethhing I would profit from. I am not trying to be negative, but you are much more experienced in this than I am, so I am curious about how you chose your reference material.

Beth Zentzis said...

Sorry there, Annie! I meant to type "Annie" but left out the "i"... my sister's name is Anne.

Annie B said...

Hi Beth, Thanks for your kind words. It's good to be aware of copyright issues. In the case of the cuneiform, obviously I had to work from references. The photo reference I used came from a museum web site. While the cuneiform itself isn't copyrighted (too old), the photo probably is. I did not request permission to use the photo. Probably if the photographer wanted to take me to court over it they would have a case. Once in court, the issue would be whether or not I had changed the context enough and/or whether or not I have a "fair use" argument for using the photo as reference. I believe that I changed the context enough and I also believe that because my work is social commentary I can claim fair use. It's all pretty complicated, though. The safest approach is to generate all your own photo reference and drawings.

Beth Zentzis said...

Thanks for your post, Annie. I didn't think about the contextual exceptions. My bet too is that since your work is not mass produced for hefty profit, aside from the application difference, there would be virtually zero conflict. And like you said, you're not reproducing the photo itself, and the content of the photo was certainly not created by the photographer. Tricky. Thanks again and I'm relieved that you didn't misinterpret my intent for the question.