04 March 2010

Caleb and Joel

Caleb&Joel#1

Their names were Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck and Joel Iacoombs, and they were the first two Native students to attend the Harvard Indian College, class of 1665. I'm totally making up what they looked like.

When I first started making woodblock prints I would plan out all the colors and layers, carve all the blocks in succession, and then do all the printing at once according to the plan. Lots of times the prints came out pretty close to what I had planned, but I found that the printing phase felt sort of rigid and I would get all tense trying to make it come out the way I had planned.

Over time I've developed a more leisurely approach where I carve a block or two, print a few passes, evaluate what I've got and then carve another block or two and print some more. This lets me respond to the various surprises and ideas that crop up as the print progresses. I still work with a plan, but I'm willing to change it as the print takes shape.

In this case, though, I ran out of paper. I ordered some from McClain's and since I had to wait a few days for it to come I did the old method of carving all the blocks. This morning I printed the first one (above). It's funny, because already I'm thinking that one of the blocks I carved is unnecessary. We'll see what happens later, but if I don't use it I'll show it to you at the end.

6 comments:

Anita Thomhave Simonsen said...

Interesting to read your thoughts about the process.....and it looks good so far...though I´m curious about the end of it..guess you are too...

Pistoles Press said...

I've had the similar "why did I carve this again?" feeling sometimes but then I just stash the block and use it some other time for fun activities like your Valentine's prints. That looked fun!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

What did they learn at school?
I would imagine that most folks printing Moku Hanga these days started out with the first process (carving all at once). Guess they did that way back when in Japan just because different artisans did different parts; it would be hard to keep shuffling the works back forth between designer, carver and printer....LOL what a luxuary to have your own in-house everything...

Terry said...

That sounds like a great approach. I know I usually change my mind about something as the work progresses, and most of the time it's too late or too much work to change it. I need to try your method.
Thanks!

Magic Cochin said...

As we don't know what Caleb and Joel looked like, this first block says sp much...

Looking forward to seeing how you picture them.

Celia

SandyS said...

If you are interested in wood blocks - please come to see Antonio Frasconi's art at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art - March 16 - June 13. It includes a lot of his work including print making. We have lots of print making workshops coming up too. www.carlemuseum.org