Saturday, November 3, 2012

Moon Fall Out

And for my next trick, I will apparate!  (All the Harry Potter fan girls go squee!!)  I have been riding the year of the dragon hard this year and the month of September felt like the breaking point but we hung on tight and now we will show you in a few posts what I have been up to.

It is evident by now that I believe "Diligence is the Source of Empowerment" and thus I have been enormously diligent.  I have been taking graphic design classes to bring myself up to speed on all the volumes of graphic design knowledge I lack.  At the same time, I was just awarded an apprenticeship with VABC's shop heavy, Garrett Queen.  That has been SO much fun.  

All this AND I completed work on the VABC's group project, "Atlas of Vanishing Knowledge".  That felt like an incredible undertaking for a number of reasons and by the time it was over I felt as if I might need an undertaker.

So, this first post will cover the making of "Moon Gaze", a chapter of moku hanga and letterpress work by Bonnie Bernstein and I about moon gazing haiku's as they would apply to the Appalachian Mountain Range.  The project was not without its usual hair pulling but I think the results were very rewarding.

Bonnie provided the haikus and I worked with the layout we were given to come up with illustrations.  We wanted the project the read along with the cycles of the moon.  Because the paper we were working with was thin, I had to design to make the moons match up as close as possible to minimize bleed through.  I would have loved to have had the prints tipped into the book form but that would have created undo bulk so it wasn't an option.
The initial planning was done largely on the internet.  She emailed me her haikus.  I sketched out some ideas.  We hemmed and hawed and tightened up ideas about three or four times before we decided on the final arrangement.

Next, I got to chipping and holy cow was it an undertaking.  The blocks came out beautifully but the turn around was tight and I spent every spare moment carving and sharpening.  I've gotten worlds better at sharpening but it still takes time.  I delighted in taking this shot of all the blocks carved together.  It's one of my favorite things to see the ruby and tan blocks all finished before proofing.

After that, I held my breath prayed to the print devils that my kentos were right because it was time to pull proofs for the color blocks.  Notice that I also print up the kentos to site my registration on the next block.

My nose went straight to the grinding wheel after that . . . or rather my knives, because I had a second round of carving to do!  I had a deadline to meet.  I had to have surgery to see if a lymph node was cancerous or not.  Yeehaw!  It wasn't!  But, after a day of rest I propped myself up to begin printing.  I was SO tired from all of it but the beauty of the prints coming off were rewarding.  My kentos were lining up and I think Titivillus was finally taking pity on me.  Bonnie's letterpress work was on point as well.

We got everything done and now they are in the process of being bound.  I'll post an update of what the whole book looks like after I get my mitts on one.  *Whew!*  That was back breaking!  Ah, but this is just the beginning!  Surely, you didn't think I would carve 6 blocks (24 plates) for just one run, did you?  We are planning a reprint with some extra treats (bokashi, gilding maybe?).  In the meantime, please enjoy this image of all the key blocks carved before they got proofed in all their ruby glory: