28 September 2015
Watercolor woodblock print with stencils
26 x 38 inches (97 x 67 cm) on Gekko washi
The horizon is a circle that divideth part of the world seen from the part that cannot be seen.
– The New Book of Knowledge (1767)
All of the text for these prints thus far has come from Erra Pater: The New Book of Knowledge, a strange (at least to modern eyes) book that began as a perpetual almanac in England in 1535 but later became a compendium of folk wisdom. The New Book of Knowledge was one of America's first bestsellers, undergoing at least 13 American printings between 1767 and 1810. The book includes an explanation of the relationship of zodiac signs to the parts of the body; a discussion of the four humors of the human body with folk medicine recipes; a section on fortune telling; and lore about weather, farming, and the care of animals. What's fascinating to me is that we think of the "Founding Fathers" as being enlightened and modern, but if The New Book of Knowledge is any indicator, they were not.
In the last few steps of this print, I added a dark blue bokashi at the bottom, printed the pensive fisherman in black, and added the text with a stencil.
As Donald Rumsfeld once said about our mission in Iraq, "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." We made fun of him for saying that, but it's pretty true. I like the video a lot: