Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Moku Hanga in Florence (Part 3); Getting Ready for the Fair
It's THREE days, from 11am to 8pm and I'm there for all of it. I know the subject will be a success, the process of moku hanga is fascinating to watch...most people have done linoleum prints in their youth or have seen rubber stamps so they get the general concept, but as practiced to produce multicolor prints it is always a bit confusing to watch--it seems almost like magic.
My concern is that I'm not an expert and I'm a little uncomfortable pretending to be an authority.
It's a Japanese cultural fair and usually very well-run and attended and there will be people there who are experts in all things Japanese. Members of the local Japanese community will be there as well as many Italian locals interested in Japanese and Asian culture, sport or food. Certainly there will be collectors of Japanese art and a few practitioners of Calligraphy (there's an excellent school here in Florence). So while I'll have a section behind me with a panel briefly discussing the history of moku hanga and Ukiyo-e prints, I've decided to be deliberately very brief--and I'll direct serious inquiries to better informed resources. Most of what I've prepared explains the craft: the tools, paper, brushes and technique that go into making a print.
It's what I do know reasonably well and can talk about and demonstrate effectively.
My plan is to have some illustrative panels set up behind explaining the tools and steps and with some examples of traditional Ukiyo-e and sosuka hanga prints (as well as a few of my own).
On the table(s) I'll have blocks and prints in sleeves, bamboo leaves, barens, jars of pigment etc.
I'm starting a new print just for the exhibit and I'll be carving the keyblock and color blocks in the morning. Then I'll switch to printing and try several 1-2 hour blocks of printing working from blocks and prints I have already carved (I'm low on a few prints and I'll be printing them there). Meanwhile, I hope to be able to chat while I'm working--explaining the process illustrated both in the photos behind me and on the bench before me.
Hopefully I'll be able to get far enough on the new work to be able to print it on the third day as the final demonstration.