I am participating in a print exchange at the Remarque Print Workshop in Albuquerque New Mexico. Each participant has created an edition of 11 prints on 8 x 10 paper. In return, each will receive 10 randomly selected prints from other participants sometime this month. I can’t wait to see these prints! This is a great way to share work and to collect the work of other artists, as well as supporting an arts organization or cause.
I created the above print, “Hydrangea,” for the exchange. The image size is 7 x 8.5″. (Mokuhanga -Japanese water-based woodblock- 5 colors, 10 impressions, Bamboo Select 170 gsm paper from Awagami Paper Factory)
The print show is now open online, and features 80 printmakers employing a wide variety methods and media. Each print is available for sale at $75. Half of all proceeds will go to the gallery’s education fund. You can read more about the gallery, see the prints, and buy one here:
I am following a new path in my work: woodblock printmaking using the Japanese technique known as moku hanga. My experience with Katazome — its simple materials, tools, and its familiar rhythms of preparation and repetition has naturally led me to to explore this new direction.
One year ago I was in Fuji-Kawaguchiko, Japan participating in a five week long artist residency at the Mokuhanga Innovation Lab (MI-Lab). Each session invites, through a juried application process, six artists from around the world to learn Japanese woodblock printmaking from master printmakers. This was a transformative experience for me and I am so grateful to have participated!
Memories that linger: the beautiful and quiet town of Katsuyama near Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchiko; the awe-inspiring presence of the mountain (“Fuji-San”); the rhythms and tasks of the studio and daily life with this small group of diverse artists.
Our Sensei, Chihiro Taki , and two visiting Sensei (Ayao Shiokawa and Michiko Hamada) shared their expertise and demonstrated many intriguing possibilities for a contemporary approach to this ancient art form. I know that my work will continue to be transformed by this learning.
During this year I made three prints (images below), which are now available in my online shop.
Katazome is traditionally done on fabric, but can also be done on paper with good results. The trick is choosing a paper (and pigments) that can be soaked in water for about 30 minutes.
I tried this new stencil as a single image (rather than repeat design) on handmade Japanese kozo (mulberry fiber) paper. Because the paper must be soaked to wash off the rice paste resist, it must be a paper that can withstand that. I had done a few experiments with katazome on kozo in the past, so knew that kozo would be a good choice. I haven’t yet tried watercolor paper, but that is also a possibility. In addition, the pigments used must be able to stand a soaking in a water bath. I mixed my pigments with soybean juice (just as with cloth), and once the work is dry, the colors are locked into the paper because the soybean juice acts as a “protein polymer” when dry. (This is how John Marshall describes it in his book, Salvation Through Soy.