19 June 2011

Mokuhanga Conference Part 3

As is always true about a conference like this, there were too many things to do and see all at once! While Sato san was doing his printing demonstration (previous post), there were demonstrations going on in three other rooms at the same time. I decided that it was most important for me to see the Japanese craftsmen, since I had come halfway across the world just for that opportunity, but I was very interested in the other demonstrations too, so I stopped in at each one for a short time.

Catherine Kernan discussing her technique

I was particularly interested to see Catherine Kernan's demonstration of making woodcut monoprints with Akua waterbased intaglio inks. Susan Rostow, the inventor of Akua Inks, was present as well, so it was a rare opportunity to hear input from her about the behavior of the inks as Catherine worked. Catherine uses large blocks, various ink modifiers and resists, and some interesting techniques such as transfering ink from woodblock to plastic to paper to create beautiful painterly monoprints.

Detail from a demo print by Catherine Kernan

Detail of woodcut monoprint by Catherine Kernan

Catherine's process is much more freeform and spontaneous than mine has been to date, and I found myself longing to move in that direction. Luckily, Catherine owns a printshop called Mixit Print Studio just a couple of hours away from me in Massachusetts, so I expect I'll be headed there soon to take some lessons.


In the next room, Richard Steiner of Steiner Print Workshop in Kyoto was speaking about his self-developed mokuhanga methods and the various tools he has invented or modified. Richard has been making woodblock prints for over 40 years and teaches both in Japan and abroad. Recently he's been teaching classes in the Pacific Northwest almost every year. He is also founder of Kyoto International Woodprint Association (KIWA) which puts on an international woodprint exhibition every 4 years in Kyoto, the most recent being this year, 2011. I really enjoyed meeting Richard and talking with him at various points throughout the conference.

In the next post I'll tell you about woodblock carver Hiroshi Fujisawa's talk about Buddhism and woodblock prints, a talk that moved me to tears.

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