Aspen Grove (Aspen Grove)

Designer: Mike Lyon | Carver: Mike Lyon | Printer: Shinkichi Numabe

Paper size: 26cm by 39cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 150.00£ 120.00€ 140.00

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Description: This is one of the most unusual woodblock prints you will ever see (or get a chance to own!). Three people were directly involved in its production ... or more correctly, two people and a machine! It was designed by Mike, using the modern tools of a camera and computer. He took the photograph, and manipulated the image in a computer program to break it down into a series of files based on various tonal values. He then used these data files to guide the movement of a computer controlled cutting machine, which cut and shaped a full set of woodblocks.

Once the block set was ready, it was sent to Japan, where it was given to printer Shinkichi Numabe, who studied the blocks and proof Mike sent for guidance, and who then produced the prints for this edition. (Actually, it wasn’t quite as simple as all that, and you can read about the long production process on the Mokuhankan Conversations website referenced below.)

So does this still qualify as a 'handmade' woodblock print? Well, I suppose you will have to make your own judgement on that, but from my point of view, the fact that the cutting blade was moved automatically, rather than by the hand of a carver, isn't enough to disqualify it. (But I do have to add that if/when Mike comes up with a way to move the baren automatically too, I think I'll 'pass' on the chance to publish prints of that type!)

Mike makes and publishes prints himself, and most of his own work is on a much larger scale than this; in fact this very image was inspired by a print he made recently that measures just about seven feet in height. (That one too was carved by his machine, but printed by hand by Mike using a press he constructed for the purpose).

I am pleased that he was willing to let me use his design for a 'cooperative' print, and I hope to include more of his work in the Mokuhankan catalogue in the future.

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