Wednesday, March 12, 2014

TWO DAY INTENSE WORKSHOP:: From Paper to Print Using Ancient Japanese Processing...

Submitted by Steve Miller, University of Alabama
Paper has consumed us...
Last week at The University of Alabama my students and I trucked down to a paper mulberry grove near the railroad tracks in town, where we harvested healthy mulberry branches. We lit a wood fire in my backyard, and with a lidded 55-gallon drum donated by Glenn House Sr. steamed the bark free of the branches in about two hours... 

Veggie dogs and potluck lunch carried us through to the bark scraping stage. Getting rid of the black and green bark was the goal, and then laying the catch out in the sun to dry. It was a good long day that yielded 1.75 lbs of dried, clean fiber. 

Two days ago we cooked a pound of the fiber, rinsed it, beat it for 12 minutes by hand, and then formed good sheets with our trusty su and sugetas. The 45 sheets were slowly pressed overnight, and then brushed onto glass windows inside the School, where they dried. Martin Vinaver from La Ceiba Grafica outside Veracruz, Mexico, helped in the sheet forming, and then yesterday began teaching a Moku hanga workshop that is just ending as I write this. The complex, Japanese, water-based printmaking process was an intense stretch in two days, but the results are stunning. To be able to harvest the bark, make the sheets, and then immediately use them for this ancient process was a rare opportunity. My students and Martin are worn out, but happy, as they clean the Type Shop up. Thank you Martin!

Steve Miller
The University of Alabama
School of Library & Information Studies
MFA in the Book Arts Program

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