Saturday, 28 February 2009

moku hanga clip

The wonderful things you can find on youtube - it's endless! I found this cute 4 min 30 sec video with a young Japanese woman demonstrating the moku hanga (Japanese style woodblock printing) printmaking method. She's in a cramped little studio space like all the printmakers I visited in Kyoto work in. They use every inch of space and sit on the floor when they print just likes she's doing.

There's one quirky bit in the video I really like. About halfway through you'll see her lift the baren (round printing disc) to her face which is offscreen. She's doing something which I was also taught to do but often surprises people the first time they see it (and clearly surprises her guests as they all start talking about it). She's wiping the bamboo leaf covered baren across her face or in her hair to get oil from her body onto the dry bamboo leaf. This lubricates the leaf before it rubs across the back of the damp paper she's printing with. Her visitors start talking in quite an animated manner at this point and you'll hear the Japanese word 'abura' repeated which means 'oil' as she explains what she's doing. So cute! Enjoy.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

slow progress

I did hint it would take weeks of carving. The pic above is a print off one of the 5 blocks that I need to carve more from before it goes into the 5 colour print I'm making for the commission. I just wanted to print this little B&W number off it before I reduce it further. And that's my hanko (Japanese name stamp) purse you see on the left. I love that little thing!

We've had to cancel a trip to the Prom (aka Wilson's Prom) due to all the crazy fire activity still plaguing Victoria. And we were going to be hanging out with some lovely folk from the UK and be near the ocean and everything! We cancelled because we're being super careful and didn't want to risk being smoked in or the possibility of being stuck there due to fires all along the highway. They're predicting more craziness tomorrow with a forecast of 38 degrees and wind.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

this is love

I've fallen in love with bison. I'm not sure if this affair will be lasting or even if it will cause me pain, but I know for sure that I love this bison stone cup. I found it in a little bison shop in Melbourne down in the laneways near Flinders Lane. I can't remember exactly where. But if you check their website I'm sure it will tell you and it also looks like online shopping is coming to bison soon.
And they pop this cute little info sheet in with your purchase to tell you about bison's origins and how to care for your bison piece. Also repeated here. If you want to be tempted by more beautiful bison ceramics look here. The truth about my own bison cup (pictured above) is I bought it to give to a friend for her birthday. But as I said, I'm having an affair with bison, and I couldn't bear to part with my little piece. How terrible is that?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

still life blue, the transformation

I'm trying to convert my 'still life blue' design (3rd image below) into a Japanese style woodblock print for a commission. I spent all yesterday afternoon working at this table sketching it out (it will be bigger this time) and putting the design onto blocks.

It's a lot of fun sketching out the design onto the wood but because this one will have 5 colours it needs 5 different blocks and super careful registration to make sure it all lines up when I print. The bonus is I recently ordered some moku hanga style shina plywood from Japan (thanks to baren forum and an old contact I had from my Japan days in Tokyo - Woodlike Matsumura) and it arrived a little while ago so I have plenty to work with. No more scrimping and placing designs on the unused ends of old blocks.

And the end result will look something like my giclee print (above) but because it will be a woodblock print it will have a very different character. Anyone like to guess just how many weeks 5 blocks will take me to carve? I like to take things at a leisurely pace.

PS. my giclee print is available to buy in the OZ Bushfire Appeal etsy shop. All funds raised go to the Australian Red Cross to help the 7000 people who were displaced by the fires last week.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

fire fire

A couple of weeks ago I started playing with some photos I've taken of native flowers and succulents. This one above is a little sample of where my play took me. As I look at it tonight the bright colour in the wildflowers remind me a lot of the fires still burning nearby. These wildflowers are from the beautiful Grampians area in Victoria.

And then I stumbled upon this post by the red thread and it made me think even more about the cool things you can do with photography.

Monday, 9 February 2009

of floods and fire

I've just returned from flooded Queensland to the bush fires of Victoria. Australia truly is a country of extremes due mostly to its sheer size. While wildlife die (and a boy is suspected of having been taken by a crocodile in a flooded area in north Queensland) and homes are flooded in the areas around Ingham near Cairns, Victoria (in the south) is dry and hot (it got to 46.4C degrees in Melbourne on Saturday or 115 F) and suffering from massive bush fires that have killed 131 people at last count. It's a disaster zone and the fires are still burning very close to Melbourne (in the north). Everyone knows somebody who has been affected. A woman I know from work lost her house to fire on Saturday.

If you live in Victoria (or Australia) give blood to the Red Cross if you can. Katie's blog mentions other things you can also do.

10th Feb - 173 people are now dead and 24 fires are still burning in Victoria.
12th Feb - 181 + many more that have not been counted in Marysville yet.