From Larry R. (Indiana, USA): "The last print is something else: at a very brief glance it
looks almost like abstract art, and then resolves into this lovely
picture from another era. For me, that kind of stands for the whole
project from an artistic point of view: I'm not really an
old-fashioned person, but in a culture of rap music and
cannabilism-as-entertainment [maybe you missed all that], a step into
a more serene past seems like a good idea, and
that's how I feel when I open the album. Even if that past is
fictional, the kinds of art that characterize the times say
a lot about them. I also love the fact that there are people still
doing this kind of work which seems extravagantly difficult to me, in
fact it seems like one of the wonders of the world."
From Patricia R. (New Jersey, USA): "I just want to tell you that the 2000 Surimono is an exquisite
treasure. Every print is superb. The collection is so varied, that
it is truly a blessing to sit with it and enjoy. I haven't received
the last print yet, but it looks beautiful on the website. Thank you.
I want to subscribe to 2001, as I can't wait to see where your
From Michael G.: "Thank you so much for all your hard work and striving so hard to share it. I have learned much from reading your writings and studying your prints on the internet. You have been a much needed resource for me. Thank you!"
From Mike a couple of months later: "It is so thrilling to be progressing so rapidly in my work and having your work as such a great resource. Numerous times I have run into a problem and have solved it by reading the articles you have made available. I can not thank you enough for all the time and effort that you have put into the articles on your website. I have taken a most intensive course in the last two months, and you have been my teacher, thank you!"
From JoAnn M.: "I never send mail like this, but I've greatly
enjoyed exploring your site this morning - I enjoyed
your warm tone and all the good technical details.
Please keep the descriptions of what's wrong - it
doesn't diminish what you've accomplished at all!"
From Carla S. (New York, USA): "I found your Web site
this afternoon, and I've enjoyed the last three hours of perusing better
than anything I've done for a long time. Your photo essay on the creation
of a surimono held my attention to the last detail, and "The Romance of
Woodblock Prints" was truly helpful. Finally, I appreciated your sharing
your inspiration, including Michener's essay."
From Julie K.: "I'm writing to tell you how impressed I am with your website. As a figurative artist, I know how important a strong foundation of craft is to any artistic endeavor, and I'm glad that you emphasized that aspect on your website. Your prints are beautiful! I loved the way that you showed how you are improving and explained what you are going for. And that you made clear that this kind of effort takes patience, hard work and time. Thank you."
From Glenn P.: "First, I must say that I love your website and work. While I have not yet purchased a subscription of your work I'd like to tell you that I thouroughly enjoy using your prints as the background on my computer. Even in two dimensions you can see the texture, how much more so, I can only imagine, would be the case if you had a physical print."
From Lucy: "... As well, your stories which accompany each of your pieces opened my eyes and made me appreciate even those which had not initially caught my fancy. These stories are a fine mixture of educational and technical information with your own thoughts, all of which make the piece you are describing that much more desirable to have for longer-term appreciation."
From anonymous: "I have been mesmerized reading the stories of the craftsmen and their wives. I don't know how long I have been staring at the computer screen, but now my neck is killing me!"
From Lauren P.: "Your web site is ... dangerously distracting!"
From Peter G.: "I found myself for the umpteenth time saying to myself "I bet I forgot to thank Dave for his marvelous articles the last time I visited
- again". So this time I've interrupted my gluttonous self-indulgence in my browsing of your great site for a moment, to say simply: "Thank you very much Dave!" Best regards, P...."
From Troy D.: "The extensive & honest detail you have worked into your public journalling has really had a deep impact on me and my approach to the work I'm doing.
"Not many people in this world have combined the classical factors of production (natural products, labor, capital) in such a balanced, traditional, yet intensive manner to produce goods of such sublime quality, nor have built such a shokugyo from nothing but a dream. What a bright star you have found to sail by!"
From Timothy P.: "Mr. Bull, I am a comic book artist, and illustrator, and I just wanted to say that your no-excuses method of constantly working away is just about the most inspirational kick I have had in a long time!!!"
From Jasper B.: "This morning I received the first four prints and the display case. The prints are superb and I have really enjoyed looking at them them and reading the accompanying essays. Your work looked great on the website, but the real thing is something else indeed. I am very, very pleased...! I've noticed all the prints have a faint imprint; is that your personal stamp? ... Again, thank you for sending me the prints. I shall be looking forward to receiving the next prints over the coming months."
From Anita C.: "I think your approach to woodblock prints honors the art and everything I read about your work and your life speaks of your dedication. You do not belabor it at all, but I know there is an enormous amount of struggle, work and even hardship in the life you have chosen. That you are succeeding so well is a testament to your character as much as to your talent and skill. I think any student who wants to pursue printmaking or any art could benefit from knowing about you, your life and your work."
From Hannah F.: "I innocently typed 'Japanese Woodblock' into Google much earlier this evening, clicked on a link that led to your site and like another of your correspondents, here I sit, about 3 hours later! Still not done perusing everything, or purchasing the .pdf books ... but I wanted to stop before I got distracted again and say: Thank you so much, David, for your devotion to your art, your craftsmanship, and your gracious spirit in so generously sharing what you have learned! You have clearly absorbed the examples of your teachers in passing on both the skill and the love of your craft. Your 'action photos' are especially helpful in understanding the process."
From Hilary P.: "My package of prints was delivered when I went home for lunch today. (Close your eyes and imagine a standing ovation...) Seriously, the prints are absolutely beautiful -- I am so impressed by the packaging, the explanation sheets, all the care and attention you have spent is greatly appreciated. Not to mention the beauty of the prints themselves. I find that these prints reveal themselves slowly over time, and can only give you first impressions
From Jennifer M.: "Your various websites have inspired me for years. ... Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing skills and knowledge, you have totally changed my personal art path, and I am grateful."
From Peter D.: "You have managed to stop me working for quite a few hours! Time I got back to it."
From Hilary P.: "just wanted to let you know what enormous fun this year of your constant presents has been for me, and how delighted I am with your work. "
From Dale E.: "All the prints arrived safely, including the postcards that you put on the outside of the 'Beauties' package. All these prints! So much work! As always, your prints far exceed my expectations, and I am more humbled than ever by these beautiful and fine prints. Thank you for all that you do!
"On a slightly different but connected topic, I was equally blown away by your packaging! I had only physically seen the packaging from your Mokuhankan venture: the packaging of those prints is great - neat, clean, 'commercial' in the sense that it is the type of packaging one would see from a major publisher - first class, in other words. Presentation really does matter as you well know - just ask a Sushi chef! However, your presentation of ALL of the 'sets' you just sent is far above standard expectations, unequalled by anything that I have seen including a portfolio of Eliot Porter photographs that I bought in the early 80's. You've put a huge amount of time in designing the packaging material and it clearly shows. Your subscribers have world class prints wrapped up in world-class materials. I, for one, appreciate that and sincerely hope that they do as well!"
From Mark B.: "I always look forward to my latest print, and am in constant awe at the intricacy and delicacy which you achieve on those small pieces of paper.
"One other thing I wanted to mention is the excellent quality of the whole Treasure Chest series: the display case, the prints themselves and even the elegant packaging that the prints arrive in. I think it represents amazingly good value and I (and I'm sure many of your other collectors) would happily pay more for such a unique and pleasurable experience. "
From Mike L.: "Let me just take this moment to say what an amazing person I think you are. I've loved your work for a number of years and wish I had the means to be a subscriber. I go through your website every so often and re-read stories and look at work. You've done more than teach yourself to make prints; you've sculpted a life for yourself. Best wishes and thanks!"
From Robert B.: "Hi Dave - I thought you would like to see my daughter's (she has a Masters in Fine Art) comments to me after receiving her woodcut. To say the least she was excited..."
"DAD! Thank you so much for my print from Japan! You would not believe how immaculately packaged it was. I was blown away! The envelope and stamps and fonts were gorgeous. I opened that up, and the little package was origami-wrapped in BEAUTIFUL paper, then another little envelope, THEN a little booklet with the woodcut inside. OH MY GOSH! Where did you find this?! K____ was equally impressed! I framed it right away--it's over our dining room table. Thank you so so much! That was probably the most exciting thing I've ever gotten in the mail."
From Lee C.: "Thank you again for your hard work! The world would be lacking many beautiful things without you in it."
From A K.: "Thanks so much--the first print I ordered was ASTONISHING in its execution and (you're probably tired of hearing this by now) its packaging. True craftsmen are nearly extinct nowadays, and your investment in your craft is blatantly obvious. Buying art for other people can be dicey, but I'd feel comfortable buying your prints for anyone with eyes and a soul."
From S A: (a letter he received from the friend to whom he had sent one of the Gift Prints) "Thank you so much for the Japanese print of the little girl playing temari. The whole experience is special: first there's the envelope with three beautiful postage stamps, then there is the gift-wrapped print. The paper itself is lovely, but even more interesting to me is how the Japanese wrap things. The way of folding the paper is really unusual – I can never figure out how to do it. And then of course finally the print itself with its charming subject and lovely soft colors."
From A K: "What a thrilling journey it’s been. A wonderful print every month by an amazing artist. I am so lucky to have come across your world and to enjoy your work up close. Each and every print has been a pleasure to display."
From A C: "A few years ago after I started buying his woodblock prints, I read the entirety of Dave's newsletter archives and then ordered the back issues, in order to have a complete run of them. It is as inspiring a biography of a self-directed life in our times as you could hope to read."
So much for the 'bouquets' ... there is unfortunately, a matching 'brickbats' section. (Although it is quite short!)