Washi (Paper) Testing

I think one of the hardest things for a mokuhanga artist is finding the right paper.  Especially Japanese paper.  There are so many different weights, sizes, paper makers.  And we all like different characteristics in a paper.  I personally don't like a white white paper and prefer more natural color.  I also like a thicker paper.

The opportunity to test different papers while at MI-Lab was something we all wanted to do.  We didn't realize how difficult it would be to get at Kawaguchi-ko.  If there were suppliers there, or even any art suppliers there, we never found them.  Everything came from either Tokyo or somewhere else.  And that all takes time.  Given that knowledge before hand I know we would have purchased paper in Tokyo to take with us to Kawaguchi-ko.

As someone used to the western "fast-food-get-it-now" culture it was hard to wait. Frustrating!  But we finally got paper from different sources and were able to test them.

Below are 4 prints all on different papers - 3 handmade Japanese and one machine made Korean.
  You can see how they each reacted differently to the same process.  The bottom right is "my" usual paper, Kihada.  It took the brown very deeply but not the blue or red.  The one above it is a Korean machine made paper that is absolutely dead.  There is no texture and the colors all are very flat.  The other two are from Kochi. The top one is a natural, almost brown paper and the bottom one is white.  Quite a difference!

These were just 4 of the papers.  We tested many more and most of us brought several of our favorites home to play with some more. 

Artist in Residence - Mt. Fuji

Earlier this summer I found out I had been chosen to be one of 6 international artists in residence at
Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory at Mt. Fuji, Japan for 5 weeks - October 7 - November 10, 2012.  The others were Tomasz Kawalczyk, Poland; Eva Pietzcker, Germany; Mara Cozzolino, Italy; Paul Furneaux, Scotland and Yoonmi Nam, Korea/USA.

We stayed in Tokyo for 5 days and had an exhibition in Tokyo at CfSHE Gallery for 10 days. 
This is the poster of the exhibition.

Setting up the exhibition under the watchful eye of Program Director, Keiko Kadota.

Photo: 私たち夫婦の友人の木版画家のリンダさんが、「木版画制作プログラム 河口湖アーティスト・イン・レジデンス」に参加するため、来日したので、交流会、展覧会が行われた東京へ会いに行きました。

I was fortunate to have friends in Japan that were able to attend the opening reception.  Pictured with me and my prints are Ann Larabee from Lansing, MI, who is teaching in Tokyo; Tomoko Hirao and Takayuki Fukuyama from Shiga; and not pictured, the photographer of this picture, Phil Ono.

After being in Tokyo for 5 days we moved to the residence location at Fujikawaguchi-ko.  More about this in the next post.

Inspired by Japan Presentation

I had the privilege today to present the complete portfolio of prints that Baren Forum members made last year as a fundraiser after the devastating earthquake and tsunami to the Consul General of Japan in Detroit, Kuninori Matsuda.

What Are You Doing??

I've been getting that question a lot lately.  Trust me, I AM working!  I set aside this year and part of next to create a new body of work.  No shows, no competitions - just work.  I am happy with my progress.  For the most part I have been in the studio every day this summer and it has been wonderful.  There is no pressure or deadlines.  There is nothing that has to go in to a gallery right away.
These days we can instantly upload our images for the world to see it is "normal" to do that.  Not posting seems abnormal.  I have had to restrain myself.
Our fast food world expects everything right now.  But, I want there to be some mystery.  Some anticipation.
I am still doing my traditional style of prints but I am experimenting a bit as well.
I hope you will be pleased when it is all done. 

10,000 Leaves

Nothing is more beautiful than Michigan in the autumn.  Last October I had the privilege to be Artist in Residence at Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park.  For 2 weeks we were provided a cabin in a remote part of the Park that was built by the Friends of the Porkies.  We spent each day hiking  some of the more than 20 trails.  One of only a few protected Wilderness areas in the Midwest, with 60,000 acres, rivers, secluded lakes, old growth forests and countless waterfalls, it was hard to chose the one image that would define my time there.
10,000 Leaves
In the end I chose this view from Summit Peak - the highest point in the Park.  This view gives you an idea of why they are called the Porcupine Mts.  With a little imagination maybe you can see the outline of the porcupines back in the ridge-lines of pine and hardwoods.
Tucked into those deep shadows is Mirror Lake which you can get to from the Peak by following the Mirror Lake Trail.  There is a very nice, secluded rustic campground at the Lake itself.  Only a few sites are there and they require a backcountry pass to camp at.

Mirror Lake

That trail in turn connects with others - well, here's a pdf of them all: Porkies Trails.  You won't be bored, that's for sure.
I highly recommend visiting the Porkies and for all you artists (not just visual) if you are looking for solitude, wilderness, beauty and inspiration, you should apply for this AiR!

8" x 30"
8 birch blocks
27 impressions
edition of 15 on various papers
Papers - Kihada, Kihada light, Echizen and Shikoku.

Tangled Water at Muskegon Museum of Art

Tangled Water, part of the 12 Views of the Shiawassee River series, was accepted at the 84th Regional Exhibition at the Muskegon Museum of Art. In honor of the Museum's 100th Anniversary, it is the first time the exhibition was open to the whole state. The Exhibition opened May 31 and runs to August 8. There were over 600 entries and about 190 pieces accepted.
Award winners and accepted work can be seen here: Muskegon Museum of Art 84th Regional Exhibition

New Studio!

New studio space

 I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is that your child grows up.  And they move out.  And they leave an empty space behind that no amount of things can fill.  Your heart is broken, you feel at a loss as to what to do.


On the other hand - they move out and leave an empty space.  What can one do with empty space?  Why take it over and have a bigger studio of course!
This is the 4th re-do that I am aware of.  The upstairs is part of the original 100+ year old farmhouse.  When I came on the scene it was 2 bedrooms.  You had to walk thru one bedroom to get to the other.  The stairway was back where that orange bi-fold door (a bathroom now) is.  There was no heat upstairs at all.
When we inherited the farm about 8 years ago, we set about gutting the entire house right down to the [real] 2 x 4's.  This upstairs room became one room, we moved the stairway to the other side and direction and put in a 1/2 bath.  5 windows facing east, west and south.  Lots of light!  Our son's room.
Fast forward to now.  Move stuff out, fill holes, repaint.  Move studio upstairs.  Enjoy!

carving station at left center

I print standing up at this 8ft. long work bench.  Drawing board is in the back corner.

New to me flatfiles (Craig's List purchase) along stairway

The Print - Michigan Competition

Meadow Quench - upper left
Friday, April 27, my friend and fellow exhibitor Ruth Egnater and I attended the opening reception of The Print at Ann Arbor Art Center.  This was Ruth's first competition and I was very excited to be there with her.  Although I have been accepted several times this was the best one I have seen and am so proud to be a part of.

"The Print invites Michigan artists to showcase experimental print techniques encompassing those of contemporary standards as well as those of time honored tradition."  The past few years it seemed that this was interpreted as "digital" with hardly a hand made print in sight.  It has been discouraging, not only in their content but in what it portrayed as printmaking to the general public.  In my opinion. 

This year’s juror. Norm Stewart chose over 60 prints - everything from a potato print, screen prints, intaglio, colograph, and - YEAH! woodblock prints!  Mr. Stewart is an Artist, Masterprinter and owner of the printing and publishing company of fine art prints, Stewart & Stewart. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Michigan. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art where he worked with Tamarind masterprinter, Irwin Hollander.
Please enjoy these photo's.  I apologize for not having the names of the artists at the time of posting but will make every effort to add them as soon as possible.

Norm Stewart, Juror

Middle print is a woven etching
Ruth Egnater with Country Road
Honorable Mention potato print!
Kimono with clouds
The blue face was made with rubber stamps that said, "Sincerely I Thank You".
Letterpress, sugar lift intaglio, colograph, woodblock.........

Gifts of Art at University of Michigan

Fourteen of my prints, including several from 12 Views of the Shiawassee River, are on exhibit as part of the University of Michigan Health Systems Gifts of Art from April 16 - June 11, 2012.
According to their website, "Gifts of Art brings the world of art and music to patients, visitors and staff at the University of Michigan Health System.
Seasonal Fashion - a spring view along the River Walk in downtown Owosso
One of the first of its kind nation-wide, this comprehensive program has been developed to enhance the Health System's commitment to providing an enriching and comforting environment to assist the healing process."
With nine 2-D and 3-D gallery spaces that are viewed by approximately 10,000 people a day, this is a great opportunity for artists whose work is appropriate for the healthcare setting.  You can view the submission page for more information.  Deadline is May 15!

Great East Japan Earthquake Remembrance Ceremony

I was privileged to be invited to the Great East Japan Earthquake Remembrance Ceremony & Luncheon today by the Consulate General of Japan (Detroit) at the Lansing State Capital Rotunda.  I was invited as a representative of both the Michigan/Shiga Sister State Board and as a printmaker member of the Baren Forum and it's "Inspired by Japan" Relief fundraiser.
The Consul General of Japan, Kuninori Matsuda gave a very moving speech thanking "all of our friends across Michigan - individuals, schools, churches, non-profits, corporations and local governments- for your generosity and your solidarity with the Japanese people."  We know that this gift truly stems from kizuna: the bond of friendship."
Speeches were also given by our Governor Rick Snyder and Lansing's Mayor Virg Bernero.  Mrs. Mary Fales, mother of a Michigan man teaching English in Kesennuma City at the time of the earthquake spoke of her son's experience and Dr. Jeffrey Angles read original and translated poetry written in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Each guest recieved a gift from Fukushima (pictured above).  The folk art doll represents the mind of the Tohoku people who are calmly and patiently working on reconstruction with the spirit of "never give up" in the aftermath of the Great Earthquake, as it always stands up with gentle smile however many times it is knocked over. 
I tried to knock it over.  Like our own Weeble's, it bounces right back up when you knock it over!


In October 2011, I was Artist in Residence at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  With old growth forests, waterfalls, Lake Superior and a plethora of hiking trails, I was inspired until I was overflowing.
We were fortunate to go on two guided hikes with Park Interpreter, Bob Wild, which I highly recommend you do if visiting there.  The first was an early evening bear den hike – during a time when posted signs in the Park said “Bear Activity is High”! The second was a twilight, 90 minute guided hike through the former town site and copper mill of the Nonesuch Copper Mine.  The former copper mill’s limestone building shells and processing pits are slowly disintegrating and there is talk of archeological work being done there in the future if funding can be found.
It was the old town site that really interested me.  The buildings are long gone – torn down or moved during the Depression.  Lilac bushes and fruit trees that now feed only wildlife are the only things left that show that humans inhabited the town site. As we walked back out of the area, the full moon shone down on Nonesuch.  The relatively young trees, holding on to the last of their golden leaves, glowed softly.  The Reclamation by the Wilderness was well on its way.


Adagio - A tempo having slow movement; restful, at ease.

The deep snow at the edge of the fields demands that you move slowly and carefully, easing your way, quieting your spirit.
The dried milkweed pods softly rattle in the crisp bursts of wind creating soothing music like wooden wind chimes.
The low winter sun casts lengthy shadows, stretching toward...........spring. 

Ovid Elsie Print Project

Last December I was asked to do a demo of moku hanga for Ovid-Elsie National Arts Honor Society by teacher, Laura Weber.  It's one thing to do a demo but when in a school there has to be homework, right?  I gave the class small shina blocks from McClains Printmaking Supply and had them do a self portrait of their eye.  The worked on them over the holiday break, I picked them up a week ago and gluedd them down on a mat board.  This way they would all have each others work. Yesterday we printed.  A lot of the students had sports practices or drivers ed after school this day so it was a small class.  They all got to print a couple prints so that their classmates would have also one.

515 Gallery Opening

515 Gallery Management Class w/ me in the middle
 January 14, 2012 was the opening reception for the 515 Gallery exhibit, 
"women with a(rt) purpose". 
515 Gallery is run by the Gallery Management Class of Clare (MI) High School and their exceptional teacher, Kim Kleinhardt.  The students select the artists, do all communications & advertising, hang the show, man the reception, introduce the artists, take care of all sales - everything!  
I was amazed first by the concept of the Gallery Management Class.  Then I was completely taken with the professionalism of the gallery.  
They did a first class job that rivals any gallery I have been to.

 The city of Clare put up banners of the exhibit on the street lamps.

The gallery was packed!
Even though the day before there was enough snow to close schools and that this evening it was
4 degrees outside, I would guess over 200 people came to the opening reception!

 My prints were very nicely displayed.

 Katie Chichester beautifully expressive oil paintings of rural scenes. 
She is a graduate of the Gallery Management class.

Puppet Theater front
Carrie Anne Parks (faculty at Alma College) clay Puppet Theaters were so richly detailed.  Four of them were displayed so the front could be seen from outside the Gallery.  Here is the front & back of one theater.  (My camera fogged up a little when I went out to take pictures so the colors aren't as bright as in person.)

Puppet Theater back
 Winter hours for the Gallery are Saturdays, 1pm - 4pm.  This exhibit will be up until March 31.
Katie Chichester, Kim Kleinhardt, Carrie Parks, Linda Beeman