Saturday, July 29, 2017

Walla Walla?

Why I am going to Walla Walla, you ask?
Well, this is the second year that Whitman College is offering a moku hanga program and they have invited Kitamura Shōichi, one of the best contemporary Japanese woodblock carvers to Walla Walla who will be in residence during our work-study period. I got wind of this from April Vollmer a few months ago and jumped at the chance to be able to improve (I hope) my carving by observing the proper technique of a skilled carver.   We'll be working alongside but separately--sort of in the Japanese tradition of watching and learning through observation, but we'll also be allowed to ask questions and have him available for an hour or so a day to assist us and I'm hoping to have him show us the proper way to sharpen the hangi-toh and my larger nomi that I haven't really been able to keep sharp enough. Meanwhile, we'll be working on individual projects, and I've ordered some blocks and paper from McClains to be shipped directly to the center and that are waiting for me to get cracking.

The only current snag is that I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now and I still haven't really an idea of what I'm going to work on.  Maybe one of my etagami that I thought would make a nice print, or an idea I've been saving, or a loose abstract work from one of my sketchbooks or try to tackle one of my line-drawing nudes from my still ill-defined shunga series?

At the very least, I may have to find a glask flask and tie a noose and try out this ancient method of achieving the diffuse light that I hear is ideal for carving.

I get in later tonight and tomorrow, I should get to see the facility and meet the organizers, Akira (Ron) Takemoto and Keiko Hara, and my fellow participants. And I'll have 5 uninterrupted days to come up with SOMETHING.  Now that's something to be excited about.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Tying the baren cover-takenogawa.

I tied a new baren cover recently on one of my home-made barens during a visit from fellow artist Monique Wales, who also filmed most of it. You can see me pleating the leaf edges along the curved rim of the baren and then twisting and holding down the surplus ends that will become the cords to tie the part that will become the handle.  She recently shared the video so I add it here. These are bamboo leaf culms from our garden and are big enough (some of them) to cover a 12cm baren.
I don't think my fingers are quite this pudgy in real life. I think it has  to do with the focal length of the lens or the dpi or something. Someday, I'll add the how to prepare the bamboo leaf for tying to this video so you can have the whole process to watch before trying to tie your own.
This is a finished baren with a fresh new cord and cover: