17 March 2007

Prep for Printing


No printing today. We had a little blizzard and after 3 hours of shoveling I didn't have enough energy left to start anything new. Janey, a friend who is just learning about woodblock printing, commented in the last post that she'd like to see this process broken down step-by-step. I haven't done that in a while so I thought I'd do it for this print, which is a fairly simple four-block print.

What happens first in the moku hanga method is that the paper must be dampened to receive the pigment. I use the Chinese brush shown above and I spread water on the back of every other sheet of paper, stacking them on top of each other and finally placing the damp stack in a plastic bag overnight. Putting a little weight on top, like a book or two, can help the water spread evenly through the stack. The paper should be just damp, not wet. New hanga printers (I did it too) almost always print too wet at first. I'm using 18 sheets for this print - the last of my paper.

The day of printing, I make up a batch of rice paste. There are commercial pre-mixed brands you can buy, but I like to mix my own from dry rice starch powder, available at McClain's. There's a recipe on the package - you cook the flour with water, like making wheat paste or a white sauce. I personally like my paste a little less thick than the McClain's recipe makes, so I use more water. Rice paste is mixed with the pigment on the block itself and makes the application of the ink smoother.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll print the first block.


Nicole said...

Interesting to learn your process. I imagine moistening the paper in a place like Arizona might require more water.

Amanda said...

Yay! I'm so glad you're doing this demonstration- it's much better than watching tv.

Annie B said...

Hi Nicole,
Yes, humidity/dryness, temperature, and type of paper are all factors in how much water to use. I never tried moku hanga in Arizona, but I'd like to.
Amanda, "better than tv" might be the nicest compliment this blog has ever received!

annie_b_good said...

Thank you for starting from the beginning, explaining your process, the Moku Hanga method. I don't have all the time needed to read through from the beginning of your blog so, this is great! I will really learn and be watching with a more educated eye!

janey said...

I'm in heaven. Thank you so much. I'm just getting ready for work but I'm going to devour this tonight.

Nicole said...

Well then, I invite you for tea and moku hanga making. :)

Annie B said...

Nicole, excellent! That's just what I was hoping for.