Sunday, June 7, 2009

Extended Absence

I must admit that I was shocked myself when I saw that my last update was in April and here it is June already. Several things have happened as of late and they have been steering my path across this rough water we call life.
I finally decided to proof up my Limulus block for better or for worse because a printer really can't decide what to change in the end until the print has been pulled. Here it is sitting on a table "warming up" with baths of water mist. Normally when I print I have a sheet or two of paper towel under a block to keep the moisture even on both sides so the block won't torque. This project is so big that I use a damp terri cloth towel to keep everything balanced. I proofed it up in bokuju but the final print will be a brown that I am working on made from soil in my indigenous area.

I found with this project that printing is quite a challenge. *Sigh* I purchased an enormous amount of Edgeworthia about 5 years ago before I learned that no, patrons do not turn out in droves to purchase woodblock prints (at least not my prints) and that no you shouldn't really print big editions until you begin to sell because then you have no money for new barens and brushes because you spent it all in paper. Lesson learned. Anyway, the edition is going to be printed on Edgeworthia which is admittedly not my most favorite of papers because for me it is very fussy. My friend Murray Whitehill was helping me and documenting with his camera as I printed. As you can see here, mutating into an octopus wouldn't be a bad idea as you can run out of hands and arms while trying to maneuver large sheets of wet paper. Murray produces really great photography and his most recent project is photographing artists as they work with a concentration on their hands. It's a great experience seeing all these hands in different media and it's become a game to me to try and figure out who the hands belong too! You can see more of Murray's work at and please do because he's got a lot of neat stuff!

Here is a proof coming off the block. I didn't get a whole lot of good ones because the Edgeworthia was too wet and wicking fibers all over the place. It's neat to see it coming off the block though. I am somewhat daunted by the fact that I will need registration for the next block as I have never printed this big and the bigger you go the harder it is to register finite detail.

Here is a proof of the Limulus block. I am resting my eyes a bit while I concentrate on creating and carving the family of trilobites that will surround the Limulus. I am a little dissatisfied with it but for negligible reasons. The boarder feels clunky to me but I know that it is fine because the proof is sloppy but the carving was tight and I am used to doing these small scale intricate carvings. It impresses me more when I view it from afar. Then it looks like all kinds of crazy detail. The other thing that bothers me is the shading of the Limulus. I feel like it still needs hatching but I am afraid to go any further. The wood will only allow so much before hatching turns into white area. I am telling myself that I can't make any changes until I'm finished carving the trilobites. Perhaps by that time the horseshoe crab will not appear so crude to me.


d. moll, said...

I didn't realize how large this print is! did you baren this puppy or run it through your press? I think it looks pretty good......

Pistoles Press said...

I wish it did but it won't fit on the press! Just me and the good ol' baren. I have a feeling that this project will make me invest in new baren .... not that I haven't been lusting after a new baren all along. A new brush wouldn't hurt either. Me thinks it is time to start making a wish list!

Annie B said...

Oh wow, so much to say about this! Yes yes yes. Changing scale does make everything look "crude" at first and takes some getting used to. I don't think I've worked this large yet - 30 inches is my max - but even that was really challenging. Registration is incredibly tricky, as the paper stretch becomes really remarkable at that scale. You're lucky to have your friend Murray!
I identified too with your discussion about economy, size of edition, expense of paper etc. It's so hard to balance all that.
Anyway, I think the proof looks great. Kudos!

Debra James Percival said...

Wow, Love seeing this come to life!
Amazing work.

Belinda Del Pesco said...

Lana, I think your work here looks amazing. The shading on the limulus is wonderful as is, and the ornate detailing of the boarder is gorgeous. Nice contrast between the two.
I suffer the same knit-brow over regulating details when working larger, but the thing that I've learned is that small pieces invite close scrutiny, so many people hang them in close proximity (small rooms, halls, entries, etc). Larger pieces are hung for across-room viewing, and most admirers will be looking at your lovely print from a distance (unless they're carvers, and then they'll be nose to the glass to admire your excellent workmanship!)I can't wait to see the rest as it unfolds!

Andrew Stone said...

Dear Lana,

The paper stretch on my only large print was intimidating and I had only my two inadequate hands so getting the paper down to the kento before the rest flopped down on my inked plate led to several throwaway prints. I used M.Dosa and it too wasn't ideal. However, I found that the damp paper could tolerate a long time on the plate while I burnished away in far away corners.
I won't be printing anything big for the summer so if you want a ball-bearing baren to trial/borrow for a few months let me know.