Tuesday, November 24, 2015

LAILAC Festival. Demo Dilemma.

The 17th LAILAC Japanese Cultural Association Festival is this weekend and I am going to be demonstrating Japanese woodblock printing again during this year's festival. However, while LAST year I manned a table and carved and printed for almost all of the 3 days of the festival, THIS year I am just doing a brief demo (1 hour), each of the two weekend days so I'm trying to figure out how much I can do in such a short time.
There will be a lot going on, as in addition to Intro to Bonsai, Dogs of the Samurai, Gift wraps, Intro to calligraphy, I will be trying to make sense of Ukiyo-e and moku hanga.  As with last year, I will be competing with TAIKO drumming and Japanese theater and dance.

Since I am not a historian, and didn't fall into moku hanga from the Ukiyo-e direction but from the fine-artist-looking-for-a-portable, non-toxic-medium direction.....so I am hesitant and unqualified to discuss-other than briefly-the history and importance of Ukiyo-e.  But, I an a decent printer and the thing I do love and find fascinating is still the process of Japanese woodblock printing so that's what I'll be doing.

I will be printing from my blocks copies of one of my woodblock prints while discussing the technique and some of the history.
But in just an hour it needs to be fairly simple, big enough to be seen from more than just the first row, eye-catching or crowd-pleasing in subject.

I was planning on printing up copies of my CYPRESS trees print (It is Florence, after all).
I carved it at last year's festival but didn't print it until a few weeks later and it has a nice November/Winter palette.  It has the advantage that the blocks are carved, it's a big print, and I've printed enough that I know the quirks of these blocks well enough to do a decent demo.

But since I am ALSO helping out at the Etagami tables, I have been thinking about trying to make another print from one of my etagami. (The Japanese Etagami Society is again sending almost 25 memebers (most over 70 years old) to teach and help at the Etagami stand.  I also will be meeting my Etagami pen-pal for the first time.
Here is an Etagami I did last year and that I mailed to my pen pal over a year ago.  It was one of the ones I liked enough to want to make an attempt at revisiting as a woodblock print and now seems like the perfect occasion.

I've enlarged it to twice it's original postcard dimensions and have traced the reversed design onto 6 blocks. I'm not sure I can get them carved in time for Saturday's demo, but I'm going to try.
It will be fun to try to reproduce the watercolor blush of the chestnuts and the background and I like the idea of keeping the calligraphic text,
"Autumn Gift". I'll post the progress as we get closer to Saturday and Sunday.

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