Boston Printmaker's Biennial

I am thrilled to have a print accepted into this show, for the the second time in a row. I wish I could have gone to Boston for the opening, but I waited too long to buy plane tickets.

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Learning about Moku Hanga

Several years ago, in 2016 at the Southern Graphics Print Council’s conference in Portland, OR, I sat in the front row for an afternoon of demonstrations for moku hanga. I was totally inspired, bought the book Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop by April Vollmer and a few supplies, and gave it a quick whirl at home, producing this not-very-adequate print. I think my paper was too thin, and I didn’t know how to handle it, and despite my kento marks, I wasn’t registering it properly, and all-in-all it just seemed like too much trouble for the results. So I didn’t touch it again for two and a half years.

But now I’m taking a moku hanga class at the Lawrence Arts Center, and getting good instruction from Yuko Ito, and it’s a whole other endeavor.

But it’s still a pretty steep learning curve. What kind of wood makes good prints? What kind of wood is pleasant to carve? What kind of paper makes good prints? What kind of inexpensive paper will do? How do you go about inking and printing the blocks? How wet is too wet? How dry is too dry? What level of wetness/dryness is best for which papers? How do you handle the paper? How do you handle really thin and floppy paper? How do you make a decent damp pack? These are all relevant questions, some of which I have (perhaps tentatively) answered, and some of which I haven’t.

Survivor (the first attempt—with birch plywood that’s unpleasant to carve and paper that doesn’t absorb the ink well.)

Survivor (the first attempt—with birch plywood that’s unpleasant to carve and paper that doesn’t absorb the ink well.)

Liana (second attempt, with Shina plywood which is very pleasant to carve and 12 different papers, mostly from a sample pack, producing a variety of results.)

Liana (second attempt, with Shina plywood which is very pleasant to carve and 12 different papers, mostly from a sample pack, producing a variety of results.)

Solstice (third attempt, also on Shina plywood, this time with a variety of cheaper papers).

Solstice (third attempt, also on Shina plywood, this time with a variety of cheaper papers).