Moku Hanga is hard!

I'm into my third week at the Willapa Bay AiR.  Tonight all of the residents were interviewed for the community paper by Sydney Stevens, local author, historian and the go-to gal for all things Oysterville, (her grandparents were the renowned H. A. Espys). (If you are interested in history and wonder what life in an historic village is all about, you should check out her blog.)  During our interview we were asked what has made this such a rich and wonderful experience and our answers included the following: the delicious and lovingly prepared meals, the cozy cabins, the peacefulness and beauty of this maritime landscape, the luxury of work time uninterrupted by the demands of daily life and the absolute coolness of sharing time, meals, stories, ideas and struggles with artists from a variety of disciplines.  Poets, writers, musicians and visual artists may produce different products and our approaches to the work we do may differ greatly, but we all know the frustration of hacking away at a creative obstacle.  In my time here I'm reminded that sometimes  the encouragement and/or inspiration needed for 'getting back at it,' comes simply from sitting down, breaking bread and sharing stories.  I am here with David NechakJames Hurley, James Bertolino and Christy George and all have shown me a thing or two about being an artist.  Goshdarnitall, I'm having a great time.

My little cabin

I needed a lot of the above mentioned encouragement and/or inspiration for my work in the studio this past week.  My project for the week was to complete a print requiring some precise registration.  I spent four days carving four blocks and then had a go at printing.  My registration was a bit off and, in a repeat of week one, I struggled mightily with printing.  This time I think the paper was too dry, (last time it was TOO wet) and again this time, I ended up tossing the first day's work.  The second attempt was only marginally better, but I think I learned a bit about the paint : nori ratio. 

I printed only three of the four blocks; used three colors and made six passes.  Oh, how I wished I had a sensei at the ready to tell me what I was doing wrong!  
Yesterday I stepped away from my tools and paints  and spent the day drawing.  I ended the day with a number of ideas for work to do when I return home. Today I was back to carving blocks for another go at moku hanga.  Again this week I will be working on a four block print and hoping for better results.
On Saturday the Willapa Bay AiR is holding an open studio/open house.  Folks from the community are invited to roam the grounds, meet the artists, see what's going on in the art studios and listen to live  performances by the residents.  Saturday, September 21, 3:00 - 5:00p


1 comment:

  1. Hi Betsy,

    So happy to know that you are "breaking in" AIR! Frustrations aside, it sounds like you are having a very productive time there and I look forward to seeing what comes forth during the remainder of your residency; and what develops, after you leave, from the ideas you've developed while there. All my best, Gloria