Hanga Treasure Chest: Print #2

Over the course of this year, as I prepare each design for carving, it will usually be the case that I reduce the print size from the original. This time though, I am enlarging it! The image is one from a large number of very small print designs created by Takahashi Shotei in the 1930's for one of the Tokyo publishers. As most of the designs in the group are of 'quaint' themes, it seems likely that the target audience was foreign tourists in Japan. The one I have chosen here is more neutral, and you don't have to be a tourist to enjoy its quiet beauty!

I am writing this little note to accompany the print before the print itself is finished; with a schedule of one print to be completed every two weeks, it is inevitable that my daily work will involve quite a mix of overlapping chores. With just one week to go before mailing day, the carving is nearly finished and the printing is about to begin. Print #3 is also partially carved, the tracing for #4 is on my desk waiting for me, and I'm still not quite decided which of a few alternatives I will choose for #5. Looking at the calendar, I see that it is due to go out on March 28th, so perhaps it should be a cherry theme ...?

So that's the way my year is going to progress - leapfrogging back and forth from one print to another, alternating between my carving bench, the printing bench, the word processor, the ink-jet printer, and the bookkeeping program, all the while dealing with the Post Office, the bank, and suppliers, and coordinating with Ichikawa-san (the lady who wraps and ships your packages), and working on translations with Sadako-san.

Sometimes I envy the old-time craftsmen, who had one job, and one job only, to do. But not really ... I think it is the endless variety of my daily work that keeps things challenging and interesting. But enough talk - if I don't get back to my workbench right now, there won't be a print to send out this coming weekend!


Monday, February 14, 2005