Monday, 14 January 2008

Year of the Rat Print

Year of the Rat 2008

Here's my latest print, a 6x4" postcard to celebrate the New Year.
It's printed on Torinoko type Japanese size postcards, available in pads of 50 from Baren Mall. The black key block was carved on a small piece of cherry I had, and the remaining 3 blocks (1 for the green foliage and coin colours, 1 for the rat and darker leaf lines and 1 for the background colour and folds on the sack*) were carved on Magnolia blocks from Intaglio Printmakers.
I used Dr. P.H. Martin's Hydrus colours, and the chop/seals were made by myself.
By the way, my Hydrus lightfastness test is still underway, and will end on Feb 21st when I'll post the results.
Here's the complete print run of over 70 prints, and those that aren't posted out I'll put up for sale on Etsy when I get my store sorted out. I'll keep you posted on that.

* David Bull kindly emailed me to let me know that the sack I refered to is actually (kagami mochi) two rice cakes stacked up "... a traditional new year decoration. The lines are the traditional way of drawing cracks in the surface of the cake ... as it dries out (it isn't eaten) the outer surface becomes hard and cracked ..." Here's a link to The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme with more info. Thanks Dave!

I should also have said that my print was based on 2 designs by Woodblock Artist Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) which I combined in Photoshop before printing it out and pasting it onto the blocks for carving.

Kyosai's work is full of weird ghosts and creatures, and his anthropomorphic animals are great fun. He's little known in the West compared to Hokusai and others, but shouldn't be overlooked as a great source of inspiration.

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