12 June 2013

Lord Have Mercy


Japanese-method woodblock (moku hanga) and rubber stamp
Image size: 10.25" x 17" (26 x 43 cm)
Paper size: 12.5" x 19" (63.5 x 98 cm)
Paper: Nishinouchi
Made with 3 shina plywood blocks, 9 color applications
Edition: 12

The movie The Wizard of Oz has stereotypically been associated with gay culture. This may be because the film can serve as an apt allegory for the coming out experience: knowing that you're different in some way and, upon acceptance of that difference, entering a new world. The tale of an isolated adolescent from a dreary place in the middle of nowhere being transported to a land where everything is brightly colored and friendly and fabulous is a perfect metaphor for the story of many rural homosexuals who have migrated to large urban centers. And in another metaphor easily understood by gays, the scarecrow, tin man, and lion (played in high camp style by actor Bert Lahr) are misfits who join with Dorothy to form a family, with all four of these characters loving each other into the discovery that what they were looking for was already inside them. This Wikipedia entry on Judy Garland as a gay icon makes more connections if you're interested.

In the book I'm working on, God Is Our Witness,  this piece will serve as a transition from the first chapter, tentatively titled “The Curse,” into the second chapter, called “Counter Spells.”

I haven't done a step-by-step for a while, so here it is:


First, transfer your sketch to some blocks of wood using carbon paper.

Carve the blocks.

Begin printing the blocks.


On this print, you can see an emboss (indentation in the paper) where the tops of the socks will be. I wanted to see if I could get a deep enough emboss so that a white line would appear when I printed the socks in blue.

As you can see, the white line didn't work very well. I think the paper I'm using is too thin for that technique.

I went ahead and printed the line for the fold of the sock in a slightly darker blue. (It's still wet in this photo, but will dry to a more subtle tone.)

This photo actually shows two printing steps. First I printed the red shoes, then I did the stars.


The final step was to “typeset” some dialog from the movie using a rubber stamp alphabet.


Roberta said...

Thanks for posting. This is lovely. I also use those rubber stamps to typeset. I love them.

Sherrie York said...

Oh. M. G. How insanely clever of you to print the check with two sets of lines rather than cutting all those @#$%% white squares! I wouldn't have thought of it... an example of reduction printer mentality, I guess. Wow. I'm going to look at everything differently now. (Which, come to think of it, is the point of ALLLLLL of this, isn't it?)

William Evertson said...

Lovely..and only ten easy steps! I know that making it look as easy as you do takes years of hard work. Great work, lovely blog post.

Raymah said...

I love this. Thank you

Annie B said...

Thanks everyone. Sherrie, you made me laugh. God knows I used to cut out all those @#$%% white squares. I'm sure I learned the two-separate-blocks technique from someone else, although who it was escapes me now. (Hopefully they won't be mad at me for not giving them credit.) I can only imagine what you could do with TWO reduction blocks!!

Sherrie York said...

Uh huh. Mind = Blown, as they say. I know some printmakers who do multi-plate reductions... but I've so far resisted because it seems like something that needs more planning than ol' seat-of-her-pants is generally willing to indulge. Darn these things that make us want to enter new territory!

Diane Cutter said...

Incredible... I agree with the cleverness of the checkered skirt!!! What an eye opener, Annie!

The print is super, per your usual, of course!

Sharri said...

Very clever - I did not know of the connection between the Wiz and the gay culture. Back in my days of excessive naivete while in a conversation with a gay guy something was said about Dorothy's. I thought he meant people named Dorothy and I'm sure he was splitting his sides over my comments, whatever they were! Is that where the term comes from?

Annie B said...

Sharri, I think so. "Friend of Dorothy" is a very old fashioned term for gay, from back in the day when gay people had to be much more circumspect.

Lisa Toth said...

What a wonderful print! Your method for the checkered skirt is so great. Love those shoes. Wonderful color . Perfect.

Janis Doucette said...

Annie, great posts keep showing up here! This series is incredibly good! Thanks for sharing!