In a recent comment, my friend Tom asked me a couple of pointed questions that helped me think more clearly about why I felt upset to discover that Mecca is closed to non-Muslims. The discovery shocked and upset me because it suddenly transformed me from a curious artist trying to explore and learn into a knowing trespasser, an interloper. It suddenly became clear that my print of Mecca could be construed as offensive or as a transgression. That wasn't my intention, but I now move ahead with the print knowing that I'm focusing my gaze on a place that I'm not supposed to see. That makes the print interesting in a way I didn't foresee.
A couple of days ago I added a bokashi (gradation) around the white spot that marks the Grand Mosque:
And then I carved the next state of the block. Each of these three "Birthplaces" prints will have a large square symbol at the top. For the Mecca print, I found a square calligraphic design made from Mohammed's name, called a Mohammed square. This calligraphy is in a script called Kufi. Kufi script has pronounced angularity and squareness and horizontal lines that are extended, so it is considerably wider than it is high. The script often is chosen for use on oblong surfaces. I'll be using more Kufi script later for the border. Here's the first impression with the third state of the block:
One thing I'm enjoying about working with the reduction method is that because I'm printing many times from the same piece of wood, the grain becomes fairly pronounced. Here's a closeup where you can see the grain beginning to stand out: