I had a most exciting afternoon today…
First I went to an appointment with my (future) business partner, and for about 2 hours we were discussing how, when, and what, and if we needed a plan B and what it would be. Afterwards he asked me whether I was free in the afternoon, and when I said yes, we went to see a friend of his in town.
The friend turned out to be a woodblock print artist – and, just so that you know: I love woodblock prints!
The idea of a woodblock print is simple: You carve a design into a block of wood, paint it in a single colour and print the design (or rather, its negative) onto paper. Each colour of the picture gets its own carving, so you need at least as many woodblocks as you want colours in the finished image, and the image slowly grows layer by layer, colour by colour during the printing process.
We spent several hours in the gallery/workshop, and I got to ask all sorts of questions: How exactly does he make the prints, how many carved blocks does he need for one finished image, what is the colour he is using, how long does it take for a design to be completely finished, can he really recreate a print he has made before, how does he trace the design onto the woodblocks, what paper is he using… I was very eager to ask all those questions and find out all the details and he seemed to be equally happy to answer them. Finally I was so bold as to ask whether I could see some of his actual carved woodblocks – and he picked up a whole package of an old design from his storage in the first floor. I was – and still am – extremely excited, as I said, I love woodblock prints!
By the way, the artist’s name is Masahiko Honjo and his homepage is here: http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~marugo/index.html
I will not go into further details about woodblock printing in this post – this topic deserves an elaborate and well researched Saturday posting – but here is one of my favourite prints from one of my favourite artists, Hashiguchi Goyo.