09 December 2008

With a Prosperous Wind

click image for larger view


Japanese woodblock (moku hanga)
Paper size: 29" x 14" (73.6 x 35.5 cm)
3 shina plywood blocks
14 hand-rubbed impressions
Paper: Nishinouchi
Edition: 12 (6 of each ship)

I've been reading a book called Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick, a surprisingly riveting history of the 55 years between the arrival of the Puritans in Plymouth and the end of King Philip's War, the bloody war between the Indians and the colonists that was fought in New England from June 1675 to August 1676. Philbrick has followed primary texts in his account of the early years of Plymouth colony, including William Bradford's diary, published under the title Of Plymouth Plantation.

Bradford's diary says very little about the grueling 66-day voyage, but one thing he does say is that on September 6, 1620, the Mayflower set out from Plymouth England "with a prosperous wind." I thought that would be a fitting title for this first print. There were 102 passengers crammed onto what was probably a 113-foot boat, and the ship only averaged about 2 miles per hour on its 3,000-mile journey.

I can only imagine how terrifying that journey must have been. Bradford wrote,
"If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world."
But the Puritans believed that God's hand guided their every action. I wanted the print to be very vertical, both to make the boat appear small and to reflect this sense that the heavens were watching over them in their undertaking.


Eraethil said...

Extraordinarily beautiful prints!

Celia Hart said...

These are lovely Annie - I love the depth of colour in the sky. The one on the left gives a great sense of traveling west.


Anonymous said...

Lovely work Annie, a great balance between simplicity and depth of detail, and the sparing use of colour is most elegant.

Daniel L. Dew said...

Excellent, the title and the work itself. I think you have captured the "spirit" of the moment quite well.

Lana Lambert said...

I'm in love with these! They are so wonderfully dreamy!

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

These are beautiful. What happened to the wrong way boat?

Annie B said...

Thanks so much. The wrong-way boat is on hand in case a trip east becomes necessary :)

mizu designs said...

Fantastic Annie!

Anonymous said...