Hilo Bay  - carving ...
Posted by Dave Bull at 10:50 AM, March 28, 2006
I have a couple of dozen blank blocks of this size up in the storeroom; they are in basically two types:
The one on the right is pretty dense and hard, probably cut from the region near the base of the tree; the one on the left is a softer type, with straighter grain. For traditional work, the hard one would be used for the keyblock, and the softer, for the colour blocks.
This print has no 'key' in the traditional sense, but I'll use a harder block for the part of the image that includes the border line and the calligraphy. The rest will get blocks similar to the one on the left. (As you can see, they are not perfectly 'clear', and it's part of the layout puzzle to make sure that printed areas avoid any block defects ...)
So anyway, the puzzle is basically solved, and here they are, laid out on my carving bench, ready to go:
The thread continues in Hilo Bay  ...
Added by: Gary on March 28, 2006 10:58 AM
It's exciting to see you finally cutting the blocks for "Hilo Bay"! While part of the composition I can recognize, there's another part that must be an inverted fragment you're utilizing some vacant block space for. Nothing to waste!
Do you have the ability to collect your web-cam shots to use later as some kind of documentation, or would this require a separate photographic session with someone else shooting pictures of you at work?
Added by: Dave on March 28, 2006 12:17 PM
Nothing to waste!
Yeah, but I think I might have pushed it a bit too far this time; I managed to get it all onto five pieces of wood, but there are a couple of places that are going to be a bit awkward to print, because of that. We'll see ...
collect your web-can shots ...
I can set the software to 'archive' if you like, and send you some QuickTime movies of the archived streams, but because the camera only shoots once every eight seconds or so, they really aren't of much practical use. (I've actually got a good net connection now, and keep meaning to explore how to start video streaming ...)
Added by: Gary on March 28, 2006 12:20 PM
I guess I never realized you can print on half a block, as it appears you have some of these laid out. I thought the paper needed to be supported _somewhere_ on the block, but it looks like when you do a few of these block printings, it'll be hanging off the edge. How do you do that without accidentally smudging the print? Stick another dry block next to it to keep the edge off?
Added by: Dave on March 28, 2006 12:24 PM
The paper does indeed need to be supported, but the support can be anything suitable. One common way - which you'll almost certainly see later when we get to that point - is to use a lightly rolled-up sheet of paper taped to the workbench. That holds the paper up in a level orientation, but doesn't cause problems if the baren happens to fly too close.
Added by: Gary on March 28, 2006 12:34 PM
It would seem to add a little more depth to the Mokuhankan venture if there are shots of you and the printer working on the actual print, so people could say, "I've got the print that this photo shows him working on!" To be able to tie the two together later when the prints are finished, seems interesting to me. Is it _just_ me or are there others out there who might think the same? Your webcam is nice, but unless your future patrons are tuned in now, they'll miss all the action. Having some stills to show later might not be a bad idea. What do you think?
Added by: Marc on March 28, 2006 1:25 PM
I agree with Gary. The more permanent documentation of the process, the better.
Added by: Dave on March 28, 2006 3:19 PM
permanent documentation of the process ...
Well, these 'Conversations' postings are already 'linked in' from the relevant catalogue page of the Mokuhankan website (see Gary's print page), and they'll be as 'permanent' as any part of this.
It would help a lot if I had kids still living here, especially if they had an interest in multi-media stuff, but no luck, it's just me ...
Added by: Gary on March 28, 2006 10:29 PM
Perhaps us 'viewers' can perform that function. I just saved a shot from the webcam and emailed it to Dave, perhaps if we viewers catch a good shot we can in effect document this process from the webcam shots, and send them to Dave which he can then pull and print when need arises. If you get flooded with shots coming in, Dave, you can just delete the extraneous. Would this be a problem?
Added by: Dave on March 28, 2006 10:59 PM
As I mentioned, I can set the webcam to 'archive' mode, and I did that tonight. Here's a QuickTime movie (4.8Mb) of the result: carving one of the blocks for this print, containing two colour areas, in exactly one hour's work - compressed into 40 seconds.
You can see three stages:
- cutting the outline of the shapes
- clearing away the waste wood (this looks neat at high speed!)
- finishing off the clearing up against the cut lines
Four of the ten faces are now done ...
Added by: Gary on March 29, 2006 1:57 AM
You mentioned in your 3/28/06 12:24 p.m. comments regarding a question about printing, "which you'll almost certainly see later when we get to that point". Does this mean the printing will be done in your studio under the web-cam?
Added by: Dave on March 29, 2006 9:04 AM
Does this mean the printing will be done in your studio under the web-cam?
I was just speaking generally, as in 'when I get around to putting up photos of the printing process'. At present, I have 'booked' a slot of time with Numabe-san for doing this job, and will be sending him the block set.
I'm still of two minds whether or not I myself should do a proof before sending them out to him.
'Do it' reasons:
- check accuracy of the block cutting
- 'design' the printing myself, and dictate to Numabe what to do
'Don't do it' reasons:
- stick with the traditional way; give him the block set and Gary's printout and leave him alone (he is Yoshida's main printer now, no questions about his competence)
- having the blocks free of pigment residue leaves him with much more freedom to work out his own method of producing the print
But I want to have it both ways, so I think what I'll try to do is book him for a day-long proofing session out here at my place. He won't want to do that, for a couple of reasons, but if I push (and pay ...) he might agree. We'll see ...
Added by: Gary on March 29, 2006 9:56 AM
I'm getting the impression these crafts people aren't in it because of a passion for art, or to achieve a higher level of skill than their predecessors, or for their names to go down in history, or just because they love doing it,(as we all would like to think perhaps) but that it's simply a job. Money is all it means to them. Has it come to this for the last of the woodblock printers, present company excluded of course? Or is this too jaded a view of things?
Added by: Terry Rollason on February 26, 2007 5:57 AM
My apologies for introducing a 'commercial' question but I would like to know whether there is any association between your admirable Mokuhankan undertaking and Usodo's Mokuhan Association as listed on their site.
Added by: Dave on March 1, 2007 7:30 AM
I would like to know whether there is any association between your admirable Mokuhankan undertaking and Usodo's Mokuhan Association
The word 'mokuhan' means simply 'woodblock' and of course is used widely in Japan in any area to do with woodblock printing - I have no 'lock' on that word. I have no association with the Unsodo organization ...
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