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Small Print Collection: Print #10


David's New Year card for 1999

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So here we are, at the end of this little set of ten prints. The few (very few!) people who received all ten from me as original new year cards took ten years to build the collection - you've done it in one year!

As I have mentioned before, the project I was working on during that ten year period was the long Hyakunin Isshu print series, and it was the completion of that series at the end of 1998 that provided the inspiration for the design of this print. What other design could I possibly have used!

Most Daruma dolls here in Japan have a one-year life; they are commonly purchased at the new year, the left eye is filled in when a wish or resolution is made, and hopefully, the right eye can be filled in before the end of the year, at which time he is returned to the local shrine, to meet his end on a ceremonial bonfire.

But my 'Hyakunin Isshu Daruma' had a very long life! I purchased him near the beginning of work on the series, and painted his left eye. He subsequently travelled with me every year to the annual exhibitions, where I put him on a stand in one corner of the gallery so that he could greet all the guests. At the end of each show, I brought him back to my workshop, and put him up on a high shelf to sit and watch over my year's work with his one good eye.

It seems that he performed his duties well - peacefully watching over my work during the entire ten year period. And of course, at the festival party during the exhibition of the completed series, he received his right eye, which I painted in with the assistance of my two daughters - a moment which I can never forget.

After the exhibition was over, I brought him home, but was unable to bring myself to take such a long-time companion to the shrine, as tradition dictates I should. As I sit here on this quiet evening, writing this little story, he sits up on his high shelf, and silently watches over me ...

I hope you have enjoyed receiving this collection of little prints!