Teeny Tiny little woodcuts. Each image is four square inches in area. An out-of-character-for-me submission to the 4th Biennial International Print Competition 2003 sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, Connecticut. April Vollmer sent the announcement to the BarenForum in mid- December, and the miniature format intrigued me. So I bought $39 worth of 1.5mm carving tools and a magnifier and went to work. I think these are little jewels!
I Submitted five of each to the competition. The juror, print collector Reba White Smith, did not jury my prints into the show. Anthony (Tony) Kirk, director of the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, wrote me the kindest rejection letter and asked me to telephone him.
Tony is head of the etching department at Ken Tyler’s famous Tyler Graphics. He is a master printer and has collaborated with major American artists and taught printmaking at a number of universities. On the phone, Tony told me that he was very disappointed that my prints weren’t juried into the show, as he had awarded my print, “Dana”, the Director’s Award. And he emailed me the following:
During our exhibitions I always put together an educational display relating to the current exhibition. We have two glass vitrine cabinets for this and they are placed in the corridor leading from the gallery to the main print studios. I am going to place there some miniature prints from my own collection including a woodcut by George Roualt and a wood engraving by Thomas Bewick. I would like to buy your woodcut of the standing female nude and include it in this display. I was wondering if you could send me a description of your technique and the blocks so that I could include them in the display. <…> I already have two other artist members of our center who have expressed an interest in buying it. Even although it is not included in the juried show, I am confident that I can sell several impressions for you.
Let us hope that when the next miniature print competition rolls around in two years that your submissions will be juried in and that you receive the awards that your work merits. Meanwhile I am very pleased to own one of your works. Please send the material for the display case to my attention at <…>
We will soon be planning our summer workshop brochure which will include a week long workshop in hanga printmaking by artist in residence Paul Furneaux, the artist whose studio/workshop was destroyed in the Edinburgh fire. Perhaps you would be interested in doing a similar workshop in the fall/winter or in spring 2004?
Isn’t that just the nicest rejection you’ve ever seen?!? So it turns out that all three prints will be on display, with their blocks, and with a description of my process and one or two photos of me working. Go figure!
Carved Apallachian cherry wood blocks and printed on Baren Mall Yamaguchi Hosho paper (very nice!). Thirty sheets printed for each print. Completed January, 2003 in about two and a half days of carving and printing.
These are reduction prints, printed by hand using Traditional Japanese woodblock printing techniques and materials (except, of course for the reduction part). For the various shades of blue which make up each print, I’d carve each block a bit, print each sheet, carve each block a bit more, print each sheet again a little darker, etc, etc, etc.