Monday, February 1, 2010

Infinite and Completely Irrational

Something infinite and completely irrational. Pi.

The small Greek letter Pi is used to represent the mathematical constant, ever changing, derived from geometry of the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. This ratio for any circle will always equal: 3.141592653589....and goes on forever without repeating. No pattern, just randomness as you divide it out. Supercomputers are still churning it out and have it figured out to millions of digits.
My kids have memorized it out as far as they can and go around chanting the number sing-song throughout the day. Beats gum-chewing.

This is my contribution to the Baren Forum exchange # 43. I was pulled in from the waiting list. While not strictly on topic--the theme was "typography"--it does include large hand-drawn/carved numbers and the Greek letter Pi prominently displayed and hand printed.

Then there's also the formula for calculating the area of a case you forgot.

I had wanted the numbers to be visible through the ink of the "Pi" and should have printed the numbers block a bit darker or last so it would have at least embossed the damp paper. Lots of overprinting to the "Pi" as it either was too pale and lacked oomph or subject power but as it gained it by going darker I lost the effect of the numbers marching through it. At least 4 impressions and it still isn't uniform or rich enough. But the biggest defect in my mind is that I wish I'd partially drawn in the next number in the sequence so that the illusion of it continuing off page was emphasized. I'd already printed some when I figured it out and it was too late to go back.

Pi = 3.1415.....∞
Woodblock print-moku hanga (water-based) 7.25" X 11"
Baren Exchange 43: Edition of 32; 10 various-colored Artist proofs (too many but I couldn't decide).
4 blocks; 5 colors; 8 impressions.


  1. As I looked at this print I was thinking about how much I liked it...the design, the color combination, the placement on the sheet... Suddenly it hit me. Soon I'm going to have one of these, as it's my first Baren Forum exchange. I was so caught up in getting mine completed that I lost sight of the fact that I'll be the recipient of a variety of prints. Looking at yours does make me regret I didn't put a carved background behind my hand drawn/carved letter/number. It adds so much visual interest. Oh the regrets once a print is finished.

    Great print. Looking forward to seeing this one in person.


  2. Dear Andrea, Thanks for your comments. It helps that I actually envisioned the "background" block first and it was in some ways the main idea. I wish I'd printed it a bit darker as in my preparatory drawings/test printings the numbering sequence was much more prominent and emphatic. It didn't really come out like I envisioned it in my mind when I started.

    I've been following your blog and work and love the ethereal, wispy, atmospheric effects you're getting in your prints. There's a level of "plate tone" or background depth that I really like in your work.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Andrew. I am starting to think that the atmospheric plate tone effect is my thing. I've just started printing on a press and I'm realizing that getting the plate tone is exactly what I've been doing with the ink all along.

    I've been having the same problem that you mentioned since beginning this printmaking adventure. My second and third impressions are never quite dark enough, and there is no going back as most of my prints are reductions.

    I have yet to do a print that came out like I envisioned it! But in a way, I think that may be one of the driving forces behind doing this. That feeling of "this will be the one" at the onset of each new print.

  4. i really like the way this turned out! i can't wait to see it in person.