A brief runthrough of the process I'm using right now to make a bank of images using woodcuts.
By using tools which are not normally associated with one another, I've been working towards experimenting with mixing processes. Currently I'm researching the technical aspects of printing water based, japanese style woodblock printing on a vandercook through testing and manipulation of the materials involved.
My hope is to bring these methods to a unique cross-platform which might have previously seen little use, but could be propigated fairly easily and applied. I feel there is a unique avenue available in this case, one which provides for a different aesthetic than traditional letterpress printing normally allows for.
Traditional usage of a letterpress can appear somewhat static, almost bland, if not applied in a surprising or exciting way- this is not to say everything ever printed letterpress is boring, quite the opposite in fact. It could be said that the generic, bland, old-timey look is what makes handset type and foundry type different from todays digital bonanza. However, oil ink rolled on in the flattest of manners allows for limited subtlety and zero hand-control. The inking apparatus take all of that away.
But recently, my investigations into the Ukiyo-E style of woodblock printing have led me to make attempts at using western mechanical methods of printing in combination with traditional hand-inked eastern blocks. I hope to use the vibrant, subtle inking that comes out of this traditional, centuries old (and arguably oldest) printing technique alongside somewhat modernized, more recent western technology.
It is my hope to be scoffed at by Japanese moku-hanga printers and letterpress typesetting nerds alike. Please! Feel free to insult my experiments! (Or offer constructive criticism ;-) )! Get angry at my usage of a type proving press to print 'cuts'; become enraged at my seemingly smashing attempts at printing lovingly hand-inked blocks!
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