Saturday, March 21, 2009

100 Foot Long Print

100 Foot-long steamroller print......Great music too !
This video shows the creation of a 104-foot print on October 14, 2006 for Northfield Minnesota's first Day of the Dead Celebration. Over a dozen Latino artists were assisted by a 20,000-pound, 50-year-old "Buffalo Springfield" steamroller. In steamroller printing, a.... relatively recent and infrequent occurrence in the world of visual arts, a design is drawn on a large block of wood (typically a 4'x8' sheet of particle board or press-board). The design is then carved out using routers, chisels, rotary drills, etc. At the printing site,
the wood block is set on sawhorses and inked. Then, it is laid into a template that has been devised on the ground to hold the block steady and in place while being printed. Next, a sheet of paper is carefully lowered onto the ink wet wood block and a piece of carpet is placed over the paper. As the carpet is stretched tightly in place, the steamroller is very slowly driven over the whole affair, taking care to not to turn the rollers in any way. The smallest mistake in this process leads to a smudged or creased print. For a 100' banner you multiple the whole affair by 13 artists and woodblocks and numerous helpers. All designs must be printed in a line and fairly quickly before the ink can dry. And instead of needing a dozen folks to make the process work, you need sixty or more to finally pull the banner off the wood blocks, walk it off the 100' long template, turn it, and weight it on the ground. A long, hard undertaking, the Northfield Day of the Dead prints and banners are wonderful to behold. Thanks to HDMG, Grupo Soap del Corazon, and the artists. Further documentation on this wonderful series of events can be seen at the website. A very limited number of individual steamroller prints are available.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chinese block printing for book making

Here is a clip on Chinese block printing for making book pages. After a bit of a history lesson we see what it takes to carve and print very fine Chinese characters and the special tools and printing setup involved.

Bareners Ray Hudson and Bea Gold are influenced by and practice the Chinese printing technique which differs quite a bit from the Japanese process. Here are a couple of references courtesy Dave Bull.
Chinese printing technique description at
DaZhao Village artists at work - video

Block Printing: Woodblock printing on paper, whereby individual sheets were pressed against wooden blocks with......
the text and illustrations carved into them, was first recorded in China in the Tang Dynasty, although as a method for printing patterns on cloth the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220, and from Egypt to the 6th or 7th centuries. In the Tang Dynasty, a Chinese writer named Fenzhi first mentioned in his book "Yuan Xian San Ji" that the woodblock was used to print Buddhist scripture during the Zhenguan years (627~649 A.D.). The oldest known surviving printed work is a woodblock-printed Buddhist scripture in Chinese of Wu Zetian period (684~705 A.D.); discovered in Tubofan, Xinjiang province, China in 1906, it is now stored in a calligraphy museum in Tokyo, Japan. The oldest surviving documented printed book, a copy of the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, is dated 848 AD, and a recent excavation at a Korean pagoda may have unearthed an even earlier Buddhist text dating to AD 750-751.In the modern Chinese historiography, printing is considered one of the Four Great Inventions of ancient China.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Indian Printing Block

After seeing the interesting videos linked by Julio yesterday, I headed down into my storeroom to dig out something that looked familiar ...

I picked up a couple of these blocks some years back, but never got around to exploring what they were, or how they were used. But yesterday's video shows exactly what they are!
Here's a view of the pattern:
And a couple of shots of the carving ...
They are all slightly warped, so I suppose were discarded at the end of their useful life. They are a very heavy wood, and although it is difficult to tell, I think they are carved on the end grain, as there is a faint concentric ring pattern visible on the back.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Block printer extraordinaire !

Now for something a bit different !
Iqbal demonstrates block printing in the Anokhi Museum in Amber, India. Iqbal is astonishingly skillful and well worth watching. Watch how he uses a simple piece of newspaper to turn 90 degree angles in the design and also the ease of registration when printing multiple colors. Notice how to save effort the pigment tray is 'pushed' along by the printer as he makes his way down the paper.

Here is an additional video on the art of Hand Printing from

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tom Kristensen - printmaker

Here is a short video by the owner of Artelino Galleries that describes the work of one of our baren members. Tom Kristensen, born 1962, resides in Australia and works in the Japanese 'moku hanga' style. The video looks into his methods, tools and materials and his previous series. It also includes the latest designs from the Barack Obama series. - Video produced by where you can find other introductory videos on such artist's as Paul Binnie, Toshi Yoshida, Katsuyuki Nishijima and many others.
Here are links to Tom's prints on the Baren Exchange archives:
'36 Views of Green Island, No 5, Rock Platform' (Exchange #22) 'Green Island Moon 1' (Exchange #25) 'Kaiju, Godzilla vs KFC' (Exchange #27) 'Grable Nude BX29' (Exchange #29) 'M is for Mao' (Exchange #31) 'Sleeping Beauty" (Exchange #35) 'Footprint' (Exchange #37)