Woodblock.com 10th Anniversary Celebration
The Gift Prints
Here are images of prints that will be included in the prize draws. (Most of the print images on this page are clickable for enlargements in another tab/window - don't miss these!)
The Hanga Treasure Chest* is the set of 24 postcard size prints I made in 2005. With that many prints in the set, I had to work very quickly to produce them, but kept to my schedule of mailing one every two weeks through the entire year.
There is no specific theme to the prints in the set - they are a wild mix of nature prints, kabuki, reproductions of Edo originals, landscape ... you name it, it's in there. Each print was sent out together with a short 'story' explaining something about it, or about how it was made, and a special feature of the series is the interesting storage case that doubles as a display stand ...
The gift print is number 7 in the set, the one that received the most positive response from the collectors - the carp by Hokusai.
I produced the Beauties of Four Seasons* in 2004, spending the entire year on just four prints, taking about three months for each one.
There is an interesting 'twist' on the selection of designs. Of course, the images fit the four seasons, but in addition to this passage of time through a single year, we also pass through eras ... The spring print is an image of a Heian era beauty; the summer print is an Utamaro design from the Edo era. We move ahead to the Meiji period for autumn, and we reach winter with a modern design ...
The gift print is the first one in the set, the design by Yashima Gakutei illustrated here.
The Surimono Albums* are a series of 50 prints that took me five years to produce, from 1999 through 2003.
One of the main motivations for the choice of images through the entire series was the technical aspects of their production. I selected images that would give me a chance to practice and learn a range of printmaking techniques that I had not yet had the opportunity to use. As a result, the series forms an encyclopedia of traditional Japanese printmaking techniques over a range of 300 years, from fairly straightforward images printed in a single tone, right up those with many dozens of overlaid colour levels.
I have selected one of the most spectacular images in the entire series for the gift print, the view of Mt. Fuji from Tago Bay, created by Tsuchiya Koitsu in the early part of the 20th century - a wonderful example of the genre known as shin-hanga.
I created the Hyakunin Isshu* series of poetry prints over a ten-year period from 1989 to 1998.
The set of prints is not specifically connected with the popular traditional card game of karuta, but were reproduced from an old book containing illustrations of the poets accompanied by calligraphic renderings of their poems. It was designed by the Ukiyo-e artist Katsukawa Shunsho and published in Edo (old Tokyo) in 1775. The card game had become popular by this time, and the book was perhaps partly intended as a reference for young ladies to study the poetry.
I carved and printed each one using exactly the same techniques that were used to create the original book in 1775. For a master reference, I used a copy in the possession of the Toyo Bunko, a research library in Tokyo.
It is difficult to tell from the small images on the site, but my prints are larger than the original book (and far larger than the small 'karuta' cards). Each print measures 420mm x 280mm, in a vertical format. Our gift print is the famous author of the 'Pillow Book', the Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
The Small Print Collection*, is represented with another design from Hokusai - this time from his famous collection of images of Mount Fuji, Fugaku Hyakkei.
There are ten designs in the series, re-using woodblocks that I carved during the years 1989 to 1998 for the 'thank you' prints that I sent out to friends and collectors at the end of each year's work. Here in Japan there is a long-standing tradition of making woodblock New Year cards, and although in recent years it is losing ground to ink-jet printers, as a professional printmaker I certainly have no choice about what technique to use for my cards!
This is another set that comes with its own storage/display case ...
Grand Prize A : My main project for 2006 was this Kaigetsudo Scroll, a woodblock reproduction of an early Edo era silk painting. The winner will receive the scroll, complete with paulownia wood storage box.
Grand Prize B : A 'ten-pak' of prints selected from the five series shown above - two from each set. And I will pick goodies!
Grand Prize C : It's going to take you two full years to collect your prize, but I think you should enjoy the 'trip' - this prize is the complete set of 12 prints/books that will make up the 'My Solitudes' series.
So there you have it - a very nice selection of beautiful woodblock prints, soon flying away to (hopefully) appreciative new homes 'somewhere' out there!