Sunday, 29 November 2020

getting to grips with Japanese Woodblock


making a start with the cutting
© Teresa Newham

November has been a busy and often chaotic time in the studio. I've been printing my Christmas cards - you can see some drying in the photo above - and I've been taking part in the Herts Visual Arts Christmas Showcase*, so I didn't expect to make much progress with my Japanese Woodblock project this month.

Transferring the design to the ply
© Teresa Newham

Luckily I've been able to break it down into small tasks: the first one was  to make the master tracing, which has to be completely accurate.  The next stage was to transfer the design to the three plywood blocks with carbon paper.  

the three blocks ready for cutting
© Teresa Newham

I've now started cutting the outline on the background block.  It's a very different technique to linocut; you hold the Hangito knife in your fist and pull it towards you, using just the tip.  I started with the background because I can either print it very faint or not use it at all, so my mistakes won't show.

the technique takes some getting used to . . .
© Teresa Newham

The plywood was easier to work with than I'd thought, and the Hangito fit my hand well.  My main problem was remembering which side of the line I was going to be clearing out, as the angle at which you hold the blade depends on this . . .

the hangito is used to outline each block
© Teresa Newham

Once I've cut the outline I shall clear a channel around the block using some of the other tools - which I haven't used at all yet - and then move on to the other two blocks.  With Christmas fast approaching, my time in the studio could be limited, so I've written myself some notes to remember when cutting!

writing myself instructions to come back to
© Teresa Newham

* The Herts Visual Arts Christmas Showcase runs until the end of December, with around fifty local artists taking part.  There's an online exhibition, live virtual demonstrations, and lots of seasonal inspiration as well as the opportunity to buy gifts. Follow us on social media for all the latest info.

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