24 June 2010

Baren Suji

baren - a disk-shaped pad for pressing paper when making a print from a wood block
suji - line or stripe

Today I wanted to make some kind of glow around the "S" of the branding iron before I apply the black to this print. On the first version I used some white ink in an attempt to create a glow:


It came out so-so. This time I wanted more than a glow. I wanted to show some movement and a hotter feeling. Now that I have this nice orange happening in the new color scheme, I thought I'd make the glow more orange colored. And I thought of using the baren suji technique to create the motion:


I was able to achieve these marks using a ball-bearing baren, pulling in just one direction rather than the usual circular rubbing motion. Other types of baren will make other kinds of marks. The technique is similar to trace monotype, I guess. You apply ink in the area where you want the marks to be (in this case I used a flat uncarved block) and gently rub with the baren. I found that using a bit more water than usual and thinking of it as "drawing" with the baren rather than "rubbing" gave me the effect I was looking for.

As several commenters have noted, the carved words in the background are much more visible in this version of the print and that makes the additional black graffiti seem unnecessary. I'm pretty sure I'm going to omit it.

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