02 December 2008

Shaking Up the Process


When in doubt, do it again. I re-carved the Mayflower so that it faces left (west). It would have bothered me the other way, no matter how I rationalized it.

I also carved a view of the ship from straight ahead. (This is a first proof, and I see that some cleaning up is needed):


In the traditional Japanese method of printmaking that I use, a block is carved for each color. Lately I've been feeling frustrated by the fact that I'm carving very large, very labor-intensive blocks and then using them just once. This plus the amount of pre-planning involved often makes me feel that the process outlasts my internal creative current. By the time I finish a print, I've often mentally and emotionally moved on to another stream. What I want to do is to find a way to make prints that are still moku hanga but are more spontaneous to create.

My thought for this series is to carve up little blocks that I can use and combine in a number of ways to build larger prints. Neither of these Mayflower blocks has a kento and both are on small pieces of wood, just large enough to fit the images. The next step I'll be taking is to set up a large block with kento marks that will fit my paper (I'm testing a paper called Nishinouchi from McClain's). Then I'll just start printing a background for my Mayflowers to sail on using some of the techniques I've already experimented with -- stencils, printing with my hands, wiping -- and see what evolves. Sort of like moku hanga monoprinting, I suppose. We'll see what happens.


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

Shake it up for sure. I really like the Nishi paper, I think it is my second favorite, not as soft as the Eichzo (you know which one I mean), but a sturdy paper with personality. Ride the current.

Lana Lambert said...

Ooooooooooooh, Nishinouchi is nice to work with! You'll love it! Don't worry. Sometimes I feel the same way but using your blocks to make numerous more spontanious prints is a good answer. Sometimes I get the burn out and wonder what the heck I'm going to do with all those blocks I've carved but don't have the heart to destroy? Revisiting and reworking into a block could be the answer. I thought about paneling a door or cabinets with them too...how textural! Don't give up!

Andrew Stone said...

Both ships look great.
You'll like the Nishinouchi; it always seems too thin and unsubstantial while I'm cutting it to size but they can take a lot of abuse during printing and when the prints are dry they look great (I always use a backing sheet though).

Annie B said...

Wow, you've all used Nishinouchi! Where have I been? It's lovely paper, isn't it? Yes, Andrew, I can see that it wants a backing sheet for the baren. So far I've printed with my hands, but that's coming to an end soon.