Friday, April 24, 2015

Moku Hanga a Roma! 22-24 May. Workshop in Japanese woodblock at Betterpress labs in Rome.

It looks like it's official.  Friday May 22nd through Sunday May 24th.
I've been invited to teach a three-day intensive course in woodblock printmaking in Rome.
Betterpress lab ( ) is a letterpress and printing/bookbinding artist cooperative and studio in Rome run by Giulia Nicolai and Francesca Colonia with whom I had the pleasure to meet and work with earlier this year.

They have a small, charming studio near Trastevere that is slowly filling with type cabinets and presses but there's enough room to host 5 students and in 3 long days I hope to be able to teach a basic, traditional Japanese woodblock technique: A two block, 3-4 plate print using a key block and 2-3 colors.
Day 1: An introduction to the history of Japanese woodblock prints. The rise and culmination of the art in the works of Ukiyo-e, a more focused nod to contemporary international artists working today in moku hanga and then a jump in to the techniques themselves.
Materials needed and image manipulation and transferring images to the block(s) for carving. I hope to get everyone's drawing transferred and start (and hopefully finish) the keyblock on the first day.
Day 2:
Registration with the the Kento registration method. Floating and fixed kentos.
Preparation of woodblocks and paper.
Papers for traditional printing (Western, Washi, and other).
Printing with simple and advanced techniques with a demonstration of bokashi printing.
We'll carve the 2 color blocks.....and take test prints to check for registration and cleanliness.
Day 3: Printing!
Pigments, rice paste, gomazuri and Barens.
Demonstrations of Bokashi printing, blind embossing, back printing, using a carry sheet.
Traditional, alternative, and home-made barens
We'll share Ball-bearing, Murasaki, and my twisted cord barens while trying to print on different papers. Each student should be able to finish a small run of a multi-block print as well as experiment a bit with color variations.
Hopefully there will be time to make a baren and demonstrate how to fix mistakes and sharpen tools.
Class will be in Italian (or something resembling Italian) and English.
Class size is limited to 5 participants: (It's a cozy space).

For Information and cost or to reserve a space:
Ass. Culturale Betterpress
Via Eugenio Barsanti 14 Roma
06 83082495

 (I had the opportunity to take a brief introduction to letterpress printing with them last year (I was wondering if I could incorporate letterpress into my woodblock prints rather than just carving text into my own blocks......This would allow me to change texts from one language to another without having to carve separate blocks).
I hope to collaborate soon on a woodblock print with me providing an image printed using moku hanga techniques onto which they will contribute text and layout.  Until then, I'll start preparing for the class since it's just one month away.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cut and Paste

While I was proofing my Leafhopper blocks I was also testing the last batch of sized paper.
As I predicted, the thinner papers didn't take the size too well--the size sat on the surface and dried very slowly--(they acted as if they were already sized). So they printed a bit unevenly and then dried  buckled and crinkled so I decided to back the better ones with wheat paste and washi..this will flatten them out but also, backed with white paper, will make them much more luminous.

Here I'm applying wheat starch glue with a brush across the back of the print and it will have a larger cut piece of Japanese paper glued on top and then pasted to a glass panel and door for drying.  Once dry I'll cut the print off the glass door leaving the backed print dry and flat.
I'll really need to find a better recipe for the the thinner papers, although the 100 % Kozo and the mixed but heavier papers both absorbed the size well and printed nicely.

I'll try to scan in one of the better ones when they're dry.