Archive | 21:10

Japanese Barens [artgeeky stuff]

23 Oct

Ink drawing: A demonstration of Japanese woodblock printing.

When I visited the International Print Fair in New York City a couple of years ago, I went to a demonstration of Japanese woodblock printing by the artist Takiyi Hamanake [I hope I spelled that right]. It’s a different way of printing; instead of rollering oil-based ink onto the cut block, you brush glue onto your woodcut and brush water-based pigment over that, then lay a very fine paper on top and rub it very hard with a Japanese baren.  The result is delicate, very different to printing with the old, heavy-duty Victorian Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop. Takiyi used a modern ball-bearing baren, a type I had never seen before. I have used a traditional bamboo baren with varying results but the ball-bearing one was amazingly quick and easy to use. I’m trying to track one down but I haven’t found a British supplier – yet!

This drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen in my little Tate Gallery postcard sketchbook. I filled it during my New York visit as a present for my husband. It was scribbled very quickly and I’m afraid it’s not a very flattering portrait of the artist!

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