Monday, 27 August 2007

things that grow in spring

A small digression from creative blogging today. I've been distracted by our plum tree which is now almost in full bloom. Spring is here! Our neighbour's two massive almonds tree have also blossomed and look absolutely gorgeous in her front garden. I especially like the early morning light on our plum blossoms. The tree glows in the dawn light and makes getting up early almost pleasurable at the moment. Almost..... And our friends' sheep, Curly, gave birth to twin lambs 2 weeks ago so we know spring is definitely here when the sheep are lambing. Curly had one male and one female lamb (pictured) and they've been named Larry and Mo (short for Monique I'm told). We got to visit the little ones yesterday and Larry was so kind as to let us pick him up and give him lots of cuddles. They are both so incredibly sweet and almost make me want to move to the country.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

moku hanga (Japanese woodblock printing)

People often ask me about the process of making a Japanese woodblock print. Other kinds of printmaking techniques like etching are more well known than woodblock printing in Australia. I think a lot of people are quite fascinated by the carving of the actual wood blocks which are an artwork in themselves. There are so many cute things about the Japanese method of woodblock printing: the lovely little bamboo leaf covered baren used for rubbing the paper during printmaking, the small, funky horse hair brushes used to place the ink of the wood, bowls of watercolour inks, the small carving tools, and the use of beautiful Japanese papers. And what I really love is the portability of art form itself. If you're printing a small block, it's possible to set up and print in just about any space, even the floor! I've travelled with my tools (including carving tools) on international flights (post 9/11) with no trouble at all (not in my carry-on luggage of course!). I've just found this interesting article (with pictures) by Eva Pietzcker and Miriam Zegrer on Japanese woodblock, known as moku hanga in Japanese. It covers Japanese woodblock history, technique, materials and printing. They've even included pictures of cute brushes and baren discs.

The print seen here is a Japanese woodblock, Adabana, by Kyoto-based artist Richard Steiner.

Friday, 3 August 2007

packing and printing

It's been a bit mad around here since we made the decision to sell our wee little house a week ago. We're starting to prepare for the open for inspection period where all and sundry can walk through the house and check out our stuff. So some of it's being packed up and put in the shed at the back of the garden including a lot of my woodblocks. It's so hard doing this because I have so many and I don't know which ones I'll be needing over the next few months. I'm hoping our next house will have a bit more space inside for me to spread out my blocks, tools, inks and paper. I'd love to have one of those amazing big paper drawers but haven't found one yet. That way I could keep all my paper stored flat rather than rolled up. If you happen to know where I can find one of these in Melbourne please let me know.

I'm getting a bit excited about seeing the new print exhibition by Australian artist Sarah Amos. Sarah lives and works in the USA now but in Melbourne next week Gallery 101 will feature her prints. Click here if you'd like to see more of her work. This lovely print below is one of hers.