Monday, October 6, 2008

Printmaking is Everywhere


I got home today and checked the electronic mail, only to find an email titled "Printmaking is Everywhere". A friend of mine, who is a freelance proofreader, sent me an image from her "Dover samples email", which I can only presume is some sort of proofreading related thing. This friend, although all English on the outside, moonlights as a printmaking revolutionary. If printmaking has infiltrated things like proofreading, then I can begin to restore my faith in humanity.

I think the text in the image may be unreadable, in that case this is what it says:

Woodblock-print craftsmen. Perhaps the best known product of the Edo period in the Western world is the woodblock print, or ukio-e ("floating world picture"). The townsmen of the day liked to see the subjects dearest to their hearts: actors in roles, beautiful women, famous places, wrestlers and entertainers, scenes of everyday life. Much of what we know about the period we have learned from such pictures (and a number of the illustrations in this book are based on them). The artist painted a design in black outline on thin paper. The blockcarver (background) affixed the design to a woodblock and followed the artists lines, cutting through the paper. A different block was carved for each color wanted (unless a given color was designed from a combination of two others). The printer (foreground) pulled the prints from the blocks after pigments had been applied to them. 

Please note: this description includes craftsMEN and townsMEN. I was beginning to believe there were no women in the Edo period. Thankfully though, it seems as though they existed as beautiful objects, as depicted in woodblock prints. Whew. I was beginning to think this culture was sexist. 

1 comment:

Beki said...

My mom turned me on to the Dover samples, believe it or not. Totally cool shit every week.
http://www.doverpublications.com/sampler4/

And I like to think of myself as a revolutionary who moonlights as a printmaker with a little proofreading on the side (just to pay the bills). Holy hell.