Saturday, March 3, 2018

Chinese Zodiac: 2007-2018-Mokuhanga

With my portrait of Bosco as my "Year of the Dog" print for 2018, I have finished one 12-year cycle  for the Baren Forum's Chinese New Year exchange. Each year I printed enough copies to share with the other printmakers in the exchange, with extras for relatives and colleagues and  a few to give away to collectors or important contacts and usually a few more to sell at occasional print fairs or inquiring visitors to my website. Some years I finished them so late I was too embarrassed to send them out (Tiger) so I have lots. Others are now gone except for a few bad or odd copies.
I should note that the "Year of the Boar" pretty much marks my introduction to woodblock printing as that print and making wine labels were my impetus for starting down this odd path. Here, in chronological order are the prints from this series.
For Baren members thinking, "Hey! I never got one of those!", both Boar and Rat were made with the intention of joining the official exchange, but each time, I procrastinated too much and I missed out on the entry date deadline, and I was a new member and didn't think to ask to still be included so they were not part of the Baren exchange, even though I cut and printed about 60 copies of each....
Note that with the exception of "RAT" which I produced exactly as drawn by my then 8-year-old son Sami, and "Tiger" which is based on a Tibetan Tiger carpet, are of the prints are original designs drawn, carved and printed by me. All are mokuhanga prints except for "Goat/Sheep", which is a wood engraving.
I'd also like to mention, I am not much into astrology, and was happy to illustrate the Chinese zodiac because 1) it gave me artist's license to draw and print some charming creatures in a small, postcard format and as I've mentioned before, 2) a chance to procrastinate until February (and beyond) as the Chinese New Year is a month later than ours and gave me extra time without seeming too late.


  1. These are totally delightful, and it's really fun to see ALL of them. I've now participated in three. Of course I don't believe in any of the zodiac stuff either, but it's really fun to do them anyway, and they look great on my wall as a collection. Everyone who comes over to my house examines them all....

    1. I should do that. I'd love to post the whole year's crop. Each year is so different and I love the variety. Thank you Coreopsis for your note.