25 July 2013

Summer 2013 Woodblock Workshop

This past weekend I taught a mokuhanga workshop at beautiful Zea Mays Printmaking Studio in Florence, Massachusetts. This was the first time we’ve offered the workshop over three days instead of two days, and it was fantastic. Although it’s possible to learn the mokuhanga basics in a two-day format, it’s a tight squeeze. Three days allows for some spaciousness and an opportunity to experiment a bit with the printing. Here are some photos from the weekend. Enjoy!

The Zea Mays teaching studio is lovely, with ample space for each student and lots of natural light.

Carving a key block (the master outline for the print), which I tried to discourage, but everyone ignored me.

Great use of three colors in this landscape by Nancy, a local artist and illustrator. She preferred printing with wooden spoons over the traditional baren.

Nice detail, use of overprinting, and wonderful whimsy in this print by Diana, an artist/educator from Virginia. She's interested in illustrating children's books.

Jill, an artist and art therapist, also ignored my suggestion to avoid fine linework, and she did a great job. I love the smocking on the upper part of the girl's dress. We learned at the end of the class that Jill's print is a self-portrait from when she was a child.

Kayla, an artist from Vermont, arrived with some blocks already carved, so she was able to spend more of her time printing. She tried some reduction work in the sweater and achieved a lot of rich color and depth.

Gene decided to carve text -- another thing that I would have discouraged if anyone had asked me, and how good that she didn’t ask me! Gene is a sculptor who has also had some previous mokuhanga experience, and this image is a portion of one of her sculptural works.

Lisa, a landscape painter, brought a lovely simplified sketch to work with. She breezed right through the delicate carving, but found the printing difficult. We were using registration boards rather than kento carved on the block, and because Lisa's image is a somewhat abstract image it was difficult when switching to a new block to remember how the previous block was oriented in the jig. After a few printing errors, she ended up marking the kento corner of each block.

Rendez, an illustrator from Virginia, had a lot of ups and downs with his print. He had an experience I've often had, where the first few impressions are coming along really well and then one block just won't print right -- so frustrating. For Rendez it was the black keyblock that wouldn't cooperate.
Here's one of his prints without the keyblock, though, and you can see he has some lovely subtle tones and white line work happening. The group suggested that he might try printing the keyblock in a softer color -- a brown or a maroon tone. He took home some supplies to work on it more.

Roxy's sister has two yellow labs and is due to have a baby any minute now, so Roxy wanted to make this print to celebrate the occasion. The image itself is small and intimate, maybe 3" x 4" overall. Can't you just see it in the baby's room? Roxy also has had previous experience with mokuhanga.

A big thank you to all 8 participants for a wonderful three days!

I'll be teaching an introductory class again in the spring of 2014, probably in March. Check the Zea Mays web site in the fall for details. And if you’re someone who would be interested in an intermediate or advanced level mokuhanga class, please let me know. Once we have a large enough group interested, Zea Mays Studio is willing to host it.


jschmitt said...

Bravo! Love all the pieces, especially that self-portrait.

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

Nice prints! even if you didn't heed your instructor. Look like a lovely studio space.

Elizabeth Busey said...

How interesting that so many participants wanted those fine lines in their work. They can be so difficult to line up (and to carve!) Do moku hanga folks ever do straight reduction prints? That is the only way I keep my sanity :)

Great class!

Annie B said...

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for commenting. This was a pretty experienced group. Some had done mokuhanga before, most had done a lot of other types of printmaking, most (if not all) are artists of one kind or another. I think that's why they ignored me and went ahead with linework!!

I do partial reductions quite often these days, but rarely a whole print. It's harder to plan with mokuhanga because the inks are transparent. You can never cover a dark color with a lighter one, only build up 'washes' of color on top of one another. Do you know the work of Rick Finn? He does complete reductions, usually in variations of a single color.

starkeyart said...

Hi Annie.

I am a little jealous of your three days! I taught one last month at the Dayton Printmakers Cooperative and felt like I was rushing through everything on day one so people could leave with their additional blocks to carve at night and spend the second day on ink and printing.

Anyway, overall it was great. I am sure by the way you described each of those wonderful prints from your workshop that you were proud of them. I loved the way each participant in mine (11!) used moku hanga to interpret their individual style and vision and ran with it, similar to your descriptions. Such a nice feeling to spread the joy!

Leslie Moore said...

This looks like so much fun, Annie! Wish I had been there. I took a printmaking workshop at Haystack this summer--monotype, lithography, dry point etching, and engraving. I've come home an gone back to block printing -- wood and linoleum. I'm playing around with reduction prints.I'll look for your next workshp at Zea Mays in the spring.

Annie B said...

Thanks for stopping by, Leslie. Sorry it took me so long to get your comment posted; I was on vacation the last of August. It would be great to see you again!