I’ve just completed an excellent two day workshop at Ardington School Of Crafts run by Laura Boswell. An introduction to Japanese woodblock printing. An art form I love but I have never tackled before.
I started with an image of pine trees falling into the sea on the end of Furzey Island in Poole Harbour. I photographed it last week and even did a sketch of it in charcoal whilst sitting cross legged on the roof of my boat.
Laura took us through the stages of breaking the design down into blocks which would build up the image. These are carved on both sides of the wood block and coloured using horse hair brushes, watercolour paint and rice paste.
The blocks are printed onto damp paper, using a baren to burnish the back. I produced several multicoloured images and a final, fairly rushed one just in blue, which is very traditional.
It’s a fascinating technique. These results aren’t that great, but they are a starting point. Hokusai, here I come…
Had a second go at a lino cut. I have looked at some videos on the web, which are of mixed use. One had a very good idea of gluing the lino to a plywood blank. This makes it much more stable and easy to use.
I worked on a series of sketches for something a bit more more original this time, working on my usual plan that if you don’t know what to draw, a naked woman usually works. After several sketches I came up with a dancing girl, whose geometry I quite liked. This had to be traced and transferred in reverse to the block for cutting. I have got the lines too thick in this case. I went for a simple white outline for this attempt, which minimises the cutting.
I have run off a number of prints on some strange, thin Japanese paper I have had kicking around for a long time.
Can you spot the block amongst the prints?
Very hard to get a consistent ink coverage. I like the ones where the body is slightly faded. This seemed to happen if I rubbed down the body with my fingers and the background with a hard spoon.