13 November 2018
Fiji Water (1.5)
FIJI WATER (1.5)
Watercolor woodblock print (moku hanga)
11 x 17 inches (28 x 43 cm)
Made from 1 block, 15 hand-rubbed applications of color
Edition of 8 on Yukimi paper
After completing my "Fire" series I found myself wanting to go on and do some water prints. At the time (last winter) I thought of calling a series about water "Blue Wave," but I was afraid that the title would be too situational with regard to the 2016 US midterm election. And then it was spring and my partner and I started talking about moving, so I dropped everything.
But the topic stayed with me. Water. I read a book called Rising by a Rhode Island writer named Elizabeth Rush (recommended) and I'm now reading Cynthia Barnett's book Rain. The devastating report on climate change that was just released in October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, plus the fact that the roof in my new house is leaking, have kept me on the topic of water, so I'm taking a poke at it here.
The first time I ever saw Fiji Water was in the 1990s. I remember my first thought was "it can't really be from Fiji." But it really was from Fiji, and I always saw it as a kind of awful commentary on the whole bottled water business—1990s yuppies "hydrating" themselves with (magical?) water from an exotic tropical island, transported thousands of miles in an ocean-contaminating plastic-is-forever bottle. Ugh.
Turns out that Fiji is one of the Pacific Island nations that won't survive warming greater than 1.5°C, which is the warming target that the cheery new report from the IPCC says would require humanity to abandon coal and other fossil fuels in the next decade or two in an economic transition so abrupt that it “has no documented historic precedents.”
Island nations across the world, in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, have adopted a slogan, "1.5 to stay alive," to reflect the grim reality they face. I included that slogan on the label.
As usual, here are some process shots. I started simply with the yellows. Printing with a lot of white space is difficult, because of the care you need to take to keep the paper clean:
Next I worked on the plastic bottle. I did it reduction-style, where you print a color, then carve a bit and print again, then carve more, etc. :
I developed the flower the same way, by printing a layer of light pink, carving a bit and printing a darker pink, carving again and overprinting a darker magenta:
Next I added a simple bottle cap:
And then I had to face the scary part: a large bokashi (color blend) with white text carved out. Making a bokashi can be kind of messy because it involves water and paste and wide sweeps of the brush. I often do bokashi in several steps, but with white text I didn't want to be double-registering if I could help it. I resolved to do this bokashi in one pass. Because I needed to use a large brush for the blend, I decided to make a mask to protect the white paper around the bottle. I used a heavy drawing paper taped to the top of the block:
Here's a shot of the brush I used (purchased from Kremer Pigment). The tape at one end reminds me that that's the side where the lighter color is. You can see how far from the raised area the ink travels and why the mask is helpful:
All of this was done on one block, using a floating kento (registration board). Here's the block after I was finished with it: