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Posts tagged ‘mokuhanga’

My Mother’s Hand

My Mother's Hand

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.


24 Mar 2016

Washi, 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.


three woodblocks


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 
more practice.

Today, I sacrificed a few sheets
of better quality paper to proof with, Nishinouchi and 
Tosa Maruishi.
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.


two proofs


Nishinouchi is on top and Tosa Maruishi below.


bokashi edge proof


This is a proof variation using bokashi (gradation printing)
around the outer edge of the block.


1 Feb 2016

Proofing day

At this point, three blocks (of six total)
are close enough to completion that I was 
finally able to proof them today.

text block proof

The text block needs more clearing and sanding in the background as well as
tidying up around the text.

mom proof

Silhouette block #1 also needs 
more work on the background to even it out 
to help prevent ink being transferred to the paper. 

dad proof

Same issue with this block, although here I 
had serious swirly baren marks!

28 Dec 2015

Practicing w/sized paper


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.

17 Oct 2015


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.



14 Oct 2015

Paper Sizing

One of my goals for my WAP residency
at Tiger Lily Press is to try my hand
at various processes that I generally wouldn’t
attempt in my spare time.

Yesterday was my first try at sizing
Japanese washi. Up until recently I’ve
always purchased paper that is sized when it’s made, it’s
much more convenient that way.
Size is nothing more than a liquid solution of animal hide glue
and alum. When the paper is coated, the size seals
the paper fibers and restricts it from
absorbing too much moisture when printing.



There are a lot of recipes online for size, but I
decided to use April Vollmer’s recipe from
her new mokuhanga book. Two parts glue, one part alum
mixed in one quart of water. That’s it in the jar, along with the
brush I used. Not happy with that brush, it’s too soft.
It clumped together very quickly and was
difficult to use.



This was the first (of many) newsprint sheets
that I practiced on to get a feel for it.
It’s tricky, not too much sizing should be used
and no overlapping marks between brushstrokes!



The washi I sized today is Kozo-Shi
and is relatively thin at 39 gsm. I over dampened
the first sheet, but improved somewhat
by the third sheet.
Hanging space for drying is limited, so I was only able
to size five sheets. That’s printmaking friend Jan
about to get somewhat blocked in
by my drying washi!



All five sheets done! I was pleased that
the paper didn’t buckle and pucker much.
But then today, in my own space it was a different story…



With a lot of size left over, I continued on
with a different paper called Seichosen (45 gsm).
This paper buckled quite a bit..hmm, not sure
if this will flatten out if I press it, or when I print on it?



Oops, this is what not to do! One corner was overly
saturated and took quite a long time to dry.

The next step is to allow the paper to age, at least a
few days before printing. From what I’ve read, the longer the
paper rests after sizing, the better it will be when printing on it.

Whether I did a decent job or not won’t be known
until I print on this paper. There could be problems
depending on the density of the size, the application and
a host of other irritating mokuhanga issues.
Printing trials coming soon!

Comments Off on Paper Sizing
27 Sep 2015