12 October 2017

Woodblock printing research (and Poetry Thursday)

One of the "personal aims" that I added to the pre-course evaluation form (yes the forms are a nuisance but they can be useful for focusing your mind...) was to research the topic. As three of the eight sessions are now over with, it's time to get going on this.

(Another aim, not written on the form because it's come to me slowly, is to figure out "why woodcut". Reflecting on the process, in comparison to linocuts, I do love the sound of the wood (shina plywood) being cut, and this would be lost in linocutting. Also the wood needs respect - bits can come loose if you're not careful. And the gaining of skill takes care, which means taking time, which means slowing down and "mindfulness" - which is a good thing in this hectic world.)

Fortuitously, in the search for a book about postwar japanese prints, this book emerged from my shelves -
Cover: Black Horse by Jerzy Panek, 1959
It accompanied a national touring exhibition of "xylography" in 1993/4, and is a succinct introduction to the topic. (Also it's the perfect size for taking along in a pocket for reading on a Tube journey.)

The pictures range from Joan Hassall's tiny, detailed wood engraving to Ken Kiff's expansive cuts on plywood -
 and from Erich Heckel (1919) to Ando Hiroshige (1857) -

Joan Hassall (1906-88) supplies the illustration to the Poetry Thursday component of this post (just look at that fur) -

A Dead Mole

Strong-shouldered mole,
That so much lived below the ground,
Dug, fought and loved, hunted and fed,
For you to raise a mound
Was as for us to make a hole;
What wonder now that being dead
Your body lies here stout and square
Buried within the blue vault of the air?

by Andrew Young (1885-1971); the book was published by Jonathan Cape in 1950.

No comments: