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Documenting the Editions

My refusal to use edition numbers on my prints has been well established, right from the day I issued my first work. I want my prints to have 'value' as attractive objects, not as vehicles for 'investment'.

In real life of course, I make a finite number of each print, so in that sense, the editions are 'limited'. The big difference is that I reserve the right to produce more copies of the prints, should I choose to at some point in the future. The way it has worked in practice though, over the past couple of decades of printmaking, is that I almost never do - my resources are always devoted to producing new work, rather than going back and reprinting old blocks.

In that sense, we have a situation where I have the worst of two worlds - I don't get a chance to enjoy large revenues from large, repeated editions, nor do I get the benefit from having higher prices due to a perceived 'exclusivity'! So be it. I have made my bed, and I will lie in it! But a recent discussion with collectors - over on my Mokuhankan Conversations website - pointed to a reasonable compromise, offering both parties some of what they need.

I am not going to start numbering the prints - which all carry my signature and my personal seal), but I am going to start placing enough information on them to enable people to determine where any given print falls within the range of my output. Is this a print from David's initial batch, or is it a many-years-later reprint? It seems quite fair to allow collectors access to that information.

So this page will document those aspects of the print editions that may be interest to some of the collectors. You will be able to tell how many prints I have made, and just where your particular print fits within that output.

Print #1 : River in Summer

Mid-June 2007 112 sheets in batch : 101 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [July 2007] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] placed above embossment at lower left. This is done with a boxwood seal I carved for use on this series, and as I used no jig to guide me, the exact location of the seal image wanders a bit from print to print.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

sealssignature

 

Late-June 2007 112 sheets in batch : 102 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [July 2007] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] placed above embossment at lower left.
Notes: The idea is to end up with approximately 200 acceptable prints. The entire edition can't be safely done in one large batch, as the large number of impressions would mean the paper would have to be wet for nearly three weeks, with a huge risk of becoming moldy. Splitting the work into two batches means that each one can be done in around ten days - a safe 'window'.
Variance: During the printing of the second batch, the idea came up to treat the tent colouring in a slightly different manner - making the interior lighter. I cut a block to suit, tested it, and decided to do the run that way (comparison photos below - batch #1 on the left, batch #2 on the right).

tent #1tent #2

Print #2 : Forest in Summer

July 2009 112 sheets in batch : 107 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [July 2009] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower right.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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Aug 2009 112 sheets in batch : 109 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Aug 2009] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower right.

Print #3 : Seacoast in Summer

June 2008 112 sheets in batch : 102 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [June 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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July 2008 112 sheets in batch : 109 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [July 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.

Print #4 : River in Autumn

September 2008 110 sheets in batch : 105 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Sep 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] in tree at mid-left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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October 2008 110 sheets in batch : (still awaiting checking and signing)
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: (will read) ... [Oct 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] in tree at mid-left.

Print #5 : Forest in Autumn

Mid-August 2007 112 sheets in batch : 104 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Aug 2007] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower right.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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September 2007 112 sheets in batch : 105 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Sep 2007] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower right.
Variance: No specific variance between the two batches. This second batch was printed with fewer impressions than the first, as it was not necessary to go back and redo some of them, as happened with the first batch (documented on the RoundTable.)

Print #6 : Seacoast in Autumn

Early November 2007 112 sheets in batch : 94 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Nov 2007] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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December 2007 112 sheets in batch : 101 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Dec 2007] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.

Print #7 : River in Winter

February 2008 112 sheets in batch : 85 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Feb 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower left
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left, above embossing.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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Pigment: Pigment problemOnly 85 acceptable prints from a batch of 112 sheets is an absolutely awful ratio, and I'm embarrassed to disclose it! There were two main problems, one of which was my own fault, and one 'not'. Going along with the 'rough' approach to this print - using quick strokes of a V-gouge, instead of carefully carving with a knife - I was a bit too 'carefree' with the printing. The actual impressions aren't bad, and they look quite natural I think, but it was the pigment preparation that tripped me up. I didn't grind the pigments quite as carefully as I should have, and nearly a dozen of the sheets are spoiled with spots of dark blue pigment. Part way along, I 'gave up' and reground the batch of pigment, so no more were spoiled, but it was too late to save those ...
Paper: Iwano problemThe other problem was not specifically of my own doing, but I shouldn't have let it happen. The paper I am using is from Ichibei Iwano - a Living National Treasure - but it is a particularly 'unhappy' batch of paper. There is a great deal of chiri (pieces of bark) still in it, but what is far worse are the clumps of unmixed fibre hidden in the body of each sheet in many places. These are pretty much invisible ... until you print. They don't absorb the pigment properly, and end up hugely visible in the finished print. When that particular spot aligns with a 'noisy' place in the image, it's no tragedy, but in a smooth colour area ... There are around 20 sheets spoiled by this problem this time, but it's no good trying to complain to the paper makers. Just 'that's the way it goes' these days. Before starting the next batch, I'll hold each sheet up to the light to try and identify these trouble spots, before making the paper wet ...

March 2008 130 sheets in batch : 115 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [March 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at left.
Variance: For the second batch, I put my baren embossed seal in the lower right corner (first batch had it at the left). No specific reason for this, and didn't actually realize it was different until I had done them all ...

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Print #8 : Forest in Winter

November 2009 112 sheets in batch : 111 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Nov 2009] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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Print #9 : Seacoast in Winter

Early Feb 2009 112 sheets in batch : 106 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Feb 2009] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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March 2009 112 sheets in batch : 100+ sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Mar 2009] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.

Print #10 : River in Spring

April 2009 112 sheets in batch : 108 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [April 2009] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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Print #11 : Forest in Spring

April 2008 112 sheets in batch : 101 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [Apr 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.
Notes: The process of creating this batch of prints was visually documented as it was taking place, in a series of postings on the Woodblock RoundTable.

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May 2008 112 sheets in batch : 109 sheets approved for signing
Signed: [D. Bull] in pencil in lower right margin
Dated: [May 2008] in pencil in lower left margin
Embossed: Baren mark in image at lower right
Sealed [db initials in Fuji] at lower left.