Paste for Woodblock Printmaking (entry by Sadako Ishizaki)
Here is the recipe for the paste that I make for David to use in his printmaking. We visited the printer Mr. Kenji Seki to get information on his methods, and this is based on his instructions.
Flour (all-purpose) .......... 30cc
Water ............................. 150cc
Heavy pot, whisk, wooden spatula with wide flat tip.
- Put the flour and water into the pot, and beat lightly with the whisk.
- Cook over a low~medium heat, continuously stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with the spatula. When the mixture at the bottom of the pot starts to become a bit thickened, lift the pot off the heat onto the counter and continue stirring. When the mixture has again become of an even consistency, return the pot to the heat. Repeat this cycle as necessary (two or three times).
- Turn off the heat when the froth on the top surface has disappeared and the mixture has become paste-like (to this point should have taken about eight minutes)
- Continue stirring until the mixture has cooled. (Uneven cooling will result in paste of an uneven consistency ...) To avoid this problem, the paste can be immediately poured into a jar or other container, where it can cool naturally and evenly.
- The flour you use should be an un-refined type that contains no additives - baking powder, sugar, etc.
- At the point of taking the paste off the heat, it may look too runny, but it will thicken a bit as it cools.
- If the paste develops a gelatine-like texture, it has been overcooked.
- If the paste is undercooked, it will not become adequately 'sticky'