Studio blog of Annie Bissett, an artist working with traditional Japanese woodblock printing (moku hanga)
06 July 2008
We Were Here First
I wanted this print about the borderlands between Arizona and Sonora Mexico to include some kind of reference to the first inhabitants of the area -- the Native American tribes, probably Yaqui people who were descended from the Aztecs. I found some photos of petroglyphs (rock art) from southern Arizona and decided to use carborundum to make a textured rock-like print. Carborundum mixed with acrylic gloss medium can be painted right onto a woodblock to make textures, but when it's used with the moku hanga method the wood prints as well as the raised carborundum areas. I wanted only the carborundum painting to print, so I used a piece of acrylic acetate as my matrix thinking that it would resist the waterbased inks more than wood. Here's the clear acrylic acetate sheet with the carborundum "petroglyphs" painted on:
After the gloss medium and carborundum dried, I taped the acrylic acetate to the woodblock so I could use the block's kento, then painted pigment onto the carborundum drawings with a regular watercolor brush. After experimenting to find just the right amount of pigment that needed to be applied, I got a nice indistinct print that looks something like sandstone.