19 March 2008

Tibetan Woodblock


It's been a while since I last posted. Been working the learning curve at etsy.com!

An interesting thing happened yesterday that I want to write about. I have a Google alert set up for the word "woodblock" and yesterday I was alerted to a blog post by writer/author Karen Coates that turned out to be a post about Tibet mentioning woodblock-printed Tibetan prayer flags. I've been following the recent news stories about the demonstrations in Tibet and feeling the familiar "what can I possibly do?" feeling. But after reading Karen's post it struck me that there are local actions I can take. Regular readers of this blog will recall that the Dalai Lama came to my town last spring. During his visit I became aware that there's a fairly large (100 or so) population of Tibetans in my area, so I decided to go to the local Tibetan store and talk with the owners.

What I discovered is that this is a very emotional time for the Tibetans. They have a feeling of now-or-never prompted by the Chinese hosting of the Olympics and the plan to carry the torch through Tibet. Many feel confused, afraid, frustrated, angry, very sad and also resolute. And they are deeply encouraged and moved and heartened when the wider community listens to them, when we extend our support.

So I bought some prayer flags to hang on my third floor porch. As I was paying for them, I said to the shop keeper, "these are printed by woodblock, right?" She smiled and brought me to a corner of the store and there I saw a small collection of woodblocks, still smelling of printers ink. One large one really captivated me, so I bought it. Take a look:


Pretty, isn't it? I might use it as part of a larger print sometime.

If you have neighbors or community members who are Tibetan, now would be an excellent time to reach out to them. I hope you will. To learn more about Tibet:
The web site of the Tibetan government in exile
Phayul, a news portal with focus on Tibet


georga said...

this is beautiful. i bought some woodblocks from india recently and i would love to have tibetan prayer flags

Patricia Phare-Camp said...

Annie, you've inspired me! I believe I will offer a print I collaborated with Carol Wagner (who was a practicing Buddhist) in my Etsy shop. The proceeds of the sale will go to the Maitreya Project school, a favorite charity of Carol's. This will be a very fitting way to honor the Tibetan people and to remember Carol in this one year anniversay of her passing. Following is the URL for more info on Maitreya Project. They have a very nice audio and video meditation for world peace on their site. http://www.maitreyaproject.org/en/index.html

Peace to Your Home,

ainesse said...

What a scoop for you and how inspiring - I mean this woodblock that you have managed to get hold of. It will be interesting to see how you incorporate this wood block into further printmaking.

By the way you print "Rape of Darfur" would be just what the IPCNY are looking for, in their next submission which is themed 'artists commentary'. deadline April 21st.

Annie B said...

Thanks for the visits and comments. Patti, what a wonderful way to honor Carol. And Aine, I thought of entering the Darfur print at IPCNY, but they very specifically want prints made within one year of submission and that print is already 15 months old!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to find woodblocks to print Tibetan prayer flags in the UK (mainly for my garden!) ... does the place you found this one still have any ? ship overseas ?!

PS I have just completed a free album of poetry and music for Tibet .. download it at seanwoodward.com


Janetto said...

Just wondered Sean if you managed to source some prayer flag woodblocks in the UK at all? I would like to print some too and particularly looking for the windhorse design - googled such and ended up here! but possibly 3 years too late...I live in Cornwall. Only really wanted small woodblocks.