Inspiring printmaker: Jean Shannon

Jean Shannon is a Minneapolis woodblock printmaker. She studied with Tetsuo Itoi when living in Mashiko, Japan, where her husband, potter Lee Love, was an apprentice with Tatsuzo Shimaoka. Below is an example of Jean’s work,  a small print called Kitchen Goddess. Click the image (or link) to go to Jean’s blog, where she explains the significance of this delightful little figure in Japanese Culture and how she has interpreted it.

Jean on her work:

During my ten years in Japan, I studied woodblock printmaking (sosaku hanga), a “made by the artist” style that includes monoprint techniques. I draw in many mediums, but I prefer printmaking to painting because it is always full of surprises for me.

Because of my long-standing interest in Asian culture, I tend to focus on process rather than on products or intellectual stance. There is a paradox about creativity in that the creative impulse is a natural part of the human spirit, yet it can be hard to activate and difficult to sustain.

Jean and I are both fans of Keisuke Serizawa, a prolific katazome textile artist who was part of the Mengei, or “people’s crafts” movement of ’20s and ’30’s Japan. Jean offered me an “extra” February from a Serizawa calendar folio in her collection, which I couldn’t pass up (see below).  Serizawa’s number and letter forms are so animated and energetic! I also admire the simplicity of the birds and blossoms!