Japanese Woodblock

One of the things that I love about attending workshops is not only learning something new, but also the experience of being a student. In my working life I am always the tutor & it is so refreshing….& yes, liberating to arrive & not be concerned about the organisation & running of  the class. I love the excitement & slight apprehension of learning something completely new.

I recently attended a two day workshop held at the Gloucestershire Print Co-operative, Stroud. It was an introduction to Japanese woodblock printmaking taught by the lovely  Laura Boswell. I knew very little about this printmaking process, but have admired Laura’s work for some time now.

The complete image is first drawn out & then broken down into the separate blocks that will be cut. This is then transferred to the plyboard & the area not required is cut away using traditional Japanese tools.

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My image was made of 4 blocks that would be printed one over the other to create the final design.

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I became totally absorbed in the cutting process &, after 3 hours cutting in class, even took my blocks home to finish off that evening (a further hour & a half!)

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I was anxious that my blocks should be ready for me to commence printing at the outset of the second day. I was very surprised to discover that the Japanese woodblock method does not use conventional ink. The ink is made using watercolour paint & rice paste meaning that rather than having to buy commercial pre-formulated inks, the artist can easily mix ‘ink’ in any colour they wish to use!

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I am extremely excited to have found a process that combines my twin passions of printing & watercolour so perfectly!

Here are two of the proofs I produced in the workshop……

printworkshop 021printworkshop 022 & now on to the serious business of printing on good paper! Bliss!

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