Posts from the ‘baren’ Category
It’s a good feeling to finally finish these two mokuhanga prints
and be able to move onto the next project.
The two different text blocks were particularly challenging for me to carve.
Not only was the carving
process tedious and physically painful, but the writing is that of my mothers.
Having to trace and retrace, and then spend months carving her handwriting
was a somewhat cathartic experience.
She was never fond of her handwriting so I found it endearing that
this found poem that she had written down, was done on lined
paper and in her best hand.
After doing an online search, I discovered the poem is actually
a song by Mahalia Jackson. I never heard it, and certainly didn’t know that she liked this song,
but the words clearly had meaning to her.
The silhouette images are of me and my parents
taken from photos that my dad took somewhere around 1960.
Each print is 12″ X 24″, an edition of three and
printed on Nishinouchi washi.
For the last X number of years,
I’ve been using Torinoko paper exclusively for
my mokuhanga prints.
Despite the finicky nature of it, I kept
right on using it because I had simply gotten used to it.
That, plus it’s reasonably inexpensive.
For the two prints I’m currently working on, I’ve
decided to dump the Torinoko for a while,
and expand my Washi horizons.
Last weekend, the three blocks
for the first print (of two) were finally ready
to be proofed all together. I hastily mixed up three
values of grey ink and proceeded to proof on Shin Torinoko,
which is a really crappy thin version of Torinoko.
Not good, period.
No photos of THAT will be posted here!
I’m also using my Hon baren for the first time. Lovely as it is,
it has a very different “feel” than the baren that I’ve
grown accustomed to and will require
Today, I sacrificed a few sheets
of better quality paper to proof with, Nishinouchi and
Both printed nicely. However Nishinouchi is
much too thin to use for this large size image. Once dampened,
it’s very difficult to handle, so that one is out.
I’ll try a few more before I settle on one for the edition, I’ll also
be experimenting with special techniques and possibly
color on these blocks before
I get the edition started.
Nishinouchi is on top and Tosa Maruishi below.
This is a proof variation using bokashi (gradation printing)
around the outer edge of the block.
At this point, three blocks (of six total)
are close enough to completion that I was
finally able to proof them today.
The text block needs more clearing and sanding in the background as well as
tidying up around the text.
Silhouette block #1 also needs
more work on the background to even it out
to help prevent ink being transferred to the paper.
Same issue with this block, although here I
had serious swirly baren marks!
A few weeks ago I tried my hand
at sizing Japanese washi.
Yesterday, at TLP, I finally had the opportunity
to practice printing on all three papers.
This is a color block that will be used on another print
in progress, here I’m using diluted sumi ink to experiment with.
I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have
any majors problems that can occur, such as
bleeding ink, paper sticking to the block, etc.
The paper on the left is Seichosen, the middle
paper is Kozo, and Gampi on the right.
Gampi was the only one that had some issues,
even after pressing it, the paper still has
unsightly buckles. For that reason, I don’t
plan on using it for printing purposes.
Next experiment? Seeing how well
these work as chine colle.
OK, my post title roughly translates
to “woodblock carving of net pattern”.
That would be an age old Japanese method of
carving delicate linework such as hair,
tree branches, and of course..nets.
The method involves utilizing two woodblocks,
one with horizontal lines and the other
with vertical lines. When printed on top of each other,
a crosshatched pattern is achieved.
I decided to give it a try for this
current reduction print I’m working on.
My results are truly underwhelming compared to
the early Japanese prints that I’ve studied.
I used a straight edge and the smallest u-gouge (1mm)
to make the lines. It was truly tedious and time consuming,
but I can know say that I’ve tried it, and it
may be the last time that I do!
Below are the two carved blocks,
the lines were carved at opposing 45 degree angles
instead of vertical & horizontal.
A few years ago, I decided to gradually
start upgrading my mokuhanga supplies.
Better quality carving tools came first, then
printing brushes as well as higher quality washi.
Most recently, I called McClains and
made the ultimate upgrade when I placed an order
for a “hon” baren.
Lucky I called when I did as it turns out
the exchange rate was the lowest it’s been in years
so the baren was considerably less than expected.
“Hon” means “real” in Japanese, and is the
highest quality and most authentic baren available.
Each hon baren is made to order and
can take as long as 6 months to a year to receive
depending on how busy the baren maker is. Mine took only
three months to arrive, so I was lucky to not have to wait too long!
It was obvious as soon as I took it out of the box that this baren
was exquisitely crafted and vastly superior to
any of the previous barens that I’ve used.
I was delighted to find a wonderful story
on printmaker David Bull’s website
where he writes about his visit to Mr. Gosho’s
home/workspace to place an order for his own baren.
You can read the story here.