Blogs are backwards - the newest entry is (usually) the first thing you see on the front page. This is fine for 'news' or other material that is time-sensitive, or best eaten fresh, but doesn't make a lot of sense for a serial narrative. And that's the type of post that makes up the greatest bulk of this Woodblock RoundTable - step by step descriptions of how my prints are made. To read these 'backwards' makes no sense at all.
If you are a regular visitor, following along with the progress in real time, the 'newest on top' front page will be fine for you, but if you are coming here 'after the fact', you need a better way to access the site contents. So this page will serve as a kind of 'Table of Contents'.
Here are links to some of the more important posts in the RoundTable ...
Arts of Japan ...
Progress of the 'Arts of Japan' print series ...
Arts of Japan series : print #3 - finished!
So we're done! As I said in yesterday's entry, it was actually finished then, but I didn't have a chance to scan it. So here it is: And the 'proper' web page, with the accompanying story, etc. can be found...
Arts of Japan series : case construction part 8
Having my table saw go out of commission put a bit of a dint in the plan for the next day, but the router table came to the rescue, and the final work on getting all the parts ready for assembly was finished late last night:
General update ...
I've been spreading myself around a number of projects over this past week; most important (although the one that actually got the least amount of time) was moving forward on getting this print done.
Arts of Japan series : print #1 - keyblock finished
The keyblock for the first print in the new series is now 'finished'. It'll almost certainly need some touch-up work after we get to the test printing stage, but for now, this is as far as I can take it ...
Progress of the 'Mystique of the Japanese Print' series ...
Mystique Series #18 : Carving progress
The last couple of days have seen plenty of progress on the keyblock carving of the Hokusai 'Fuji in the Window' image: I have been much more careful with the sharpening than I have been in recent months/years (mostly due...
General posts about the printmaking work ...
I've been getting emails recently from people who have been following this blog asking 'Dave, are you OK?' … Yes, indeed! There is a ton of stuff going on here these days, but not much of it finds its way...
A roundup of what has been going on here while the RoundTable has been silent for the past couple of weeks ...
How much more?
Looking at the situation with the US$ exchange rate ... not pretty!
A Special Anniversary
Here's the shortest post of the year on this RoundTable ... just a simple short note to let you know that this is an 'anniversary' day for me - 25 years ago today I came to live in Japan. A...
Japan is OK
All these things are in the social contract, somewhere in the fine print.
A Major Breakthrough!
... the 'after market' price on some of my prints has topped my original sale price ... (or has it?)
New Web Shop opens today!
At last ... after years of procrastination, I have opened a new webshop, where people can browse (and purchase) my varied prints and collections (in Japanese!).
Visit from the Kingfisher ...
Every morning for the past few days I have been enjoying visits from the kingfisher who lives somewhere along the river that passes below my workshop window.
More introductory videos ...
Four short videos are now on the website - a welcoming message, a couple that explain how some of my print series were created, and one discussing how my subscriptions work.
Free Promo DVD just out!
It'll be on display racks in video and record shops all over the country for the next six weeks.
Barrelling along ...
I was one of the people selected, and - of course - used the stave to create a woodblock for printing.
What sort of posts?
... a way for the collectors to share thoughts and ideas with each other ...
Essays ... General
Familiar in tone, light in weight; I hope you find something here of interest ...
Imperial Poetry Ceremony : (Part One)
In 1999 Dave was honoured with an invitation to attend the Utakai Hajime - the 'First Poetry Reading of the Year' - a ceremony held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo every January.
Sing for your Supper
I stuffed coins into every pocket I could find in my trousers and jacket, front back and inside, and then started home, jingling at every step.
Walls Within Walls
... a limb of an old and gnarled tree stretched out, and some of the gates and doors stood ajar, allowing glimpses of silent gardens ...
What's in a Name?
I simply took a pencil and went through the list marking those items that sounded to me like they would be a good name for a young girl.
On the Shelf
... these books that had enough of an impact on me to prompt me to keep them after reading, instead of turning them in at the second-hand bookshop, as I have done with so many others.
Side by Side
It's just simply pleasure to be together with an interesting, intelligent and attractive woman.
Yes or No?
End of conversation. Suzuki-san then quietly dies of thirst waiting for the offer to be repeated.
I still haven't been able to get over the feeling that I am living somewhere 'special', somewhere very, very special.
... they must have had some kind of bad experience in a similar situation at a previous time, and had thus been 'trained' to expect trouble from foreigners.
No sooner is that last line written ("I want only to be with you!") and our name appended, than the desire to have the letter safely delivered to her waiting hands starts to mount. (For she is waiting, of course!)
... when I first heard about their collaborative relationship, I could barely believe my ears.
Level Playing Fields
... 'game over'. I had completely failed at whatever it was the program was expecting me to do.
Book a Train Trip
... as one learns characters and words, one by one they become visible, until finally the complete picture stands clear.
Becoming a User
The music I've been writing with the assistance of my new computer certainly isn't going to climb very high in the 'charts' ...
... diving head first out the door at 10,000 feet for a free-fall lasting nearly a minute, swooping and sliding around the sky, and then opening the wing-shaped chute and flying it home to the target spot.
So Who Cares?
... how much they need editing; how clumsy many of the sentences are, and how poor I am at expressing ideas clearly.
Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho!
... a system of schools, factories and offices that, although based on sound principles of division of labour and organizing production, had grown into a huge monster ...
The Green, Green Plastic of Home
There are great opportunities for personal expression in this slipper-donning ritual, and the performance can actually reach virtuosic heights.
... hiding peas one by one atop the wooden support bars under the table top.
In the Park ...
That's me lying in there, just a few days old, and sleeping peacefully while my mother gets me out of the house for some fresh air.
In the Red
I do not find the concept of 'self-sacrifice' a particularly noble idea.
All Together Now!
... during the conversation you find yourself in the ridiculous situation of bowing to somebody you can't even see!
Ooohh, That Smell!
... coming home from school, I would open the house door and know instantly what was waiting in the kitchen.
On the Hot Seat
If I have on something with no buttons down the front, they know that it must be Wednesday ... archery lesson day!
Head vs Hands
How do I make a living? Of course, with my hands ...
No Place Like Home
Do two kids who sleep side by side, study side by side, play side by side, and bathe side by side, have a different relationship than two who have private rooms for these functions?
When, oh When?
I write these thoughts now, because as I finished the latest print just last night, I was especially struck with how 'clumsy' it seems.
Fill in the Blank
Although it would symbolize full entry into this society, real practical acceptance could only come from one's actions: from living among Japanese people in a Japanese way ...
Just Like You, Just Like Me ...
... this 'selective blindness' of travellers created the general image that foreign lands were indeed all strange places ...
The Autumn Leaves
He was simply walking back and forth among the tree branches overhanging the building, carrying a small, flat basket ...
... it just became too much, and she caved in and started crying.
Get a Life
"Wanted. Woodblock carver and printer to work in a 200-year old style, recreating a series of Edo-era prints ..."
Different Kind of Homeless
Not if I live to be a hundred years old will I ever be able to afford to buy a piece of land here adequate for building a comfortable house.
An Unusual Guest
Oversize pointed ears, tiny beady eyes, and a mouth bristling with needle-like fangs, none of them longer than a millimeter, but appearing huge in her tiny visage ...
... slowly raised my bow, had tried to think of nothing, and had let the arrow fly, unconcerned about where it would strike.
A Re-Cycle Adventure!
And there on the back of his truck, was a brand new mountain bike. A 21-geared, super-lightweight, mountain bike.
Each item a simple accessory for living, but taken all together ... what a monstrous pile they make!
... the stuff just seemed to come welling up from inside him, to spill over and flood the room with melody. Every note the guy played was musical.
... far more than those more overt propagandists, it is actually the 'familiar' essayists who are the most effective at philosophical guidance.
Her voice was soft, but she spoke with confidence, her clothes were quietly elegant. This Fading Flower moved about with grace.
A single father with two teenage daughters - certainly no shortage of things to write about!
A Man's Work is Never ...
... hearing words come out that make you think that this kid must have been living with somebody else for all those years?
Will the Real David Please Stand Up?
If my father had written little personal essays like these during the years I was a child, would that now help me to understand who he was ... who he is?
This leaves me in the somewhat uncomfortable position of holding all the 'power' in the household.
Off to Market!
In their eyes, I am thus a bit of a 'troublemaker', blurring those previously clear roles, and stirring up problems.
... at bath time one evening very soon, they will kick me out, from that day on taking their bath together, leaving me no option but to have mine alone.
Time Stands Still ...
I couldn't keep my eyes away from the clock. It was moving so slowly. Was it broken?
A Permanent Problem
... pre-ordained more than eleven years ago, the day I found out that our yet-to-be-born child was an 'XX' type
Impressions of Canada following a return trip there ten years after moving away ...
I have never really liked the traditional idea of being forced to bring back an o-miyage, a souvenir, for every single person in the community back home ...
... the contrast between their display of rather scrawny (and very expensive) vegetables and the mounds of fat, juicy and very healthy-looking ones here couldn't be stronger.
A few seconds later, I stood back in amazement and stared. There was my rock, balanced 'upside-down' on a small point.
Trains of Two Cities
Passengers are even sometimes seen jumping over the entrance barriers, in order to enter without paying.
... even though I thus have no actual photographs to show you, I do have a collection of remembered 'images' ...
Where to Tonight?
They find a cheap hole in the wall space on a back street somewhere, clean it up, put in a few tables and chairs, scribble a menu on the wall, and go to it.
Lunch in a Time Slip!
... a horseshoe-shaped counter with red-topped stools arrayed around it, along one wall a half dozen booths, and up on one wall a menu board made of some kind of grooved black material in which white letters were arranged to spell out the 'Daily Specials'.
The 'Solitudes' Progress Reports can be accessed as individual posts, or by starting at the first one in any section, and then stepping through the thread from there. (Click the triangles to 'open' each Chapter and expose the links ...)
(These are in 'mixed' order because that is how I made the series)