'Arts of Japan' Update
With the first three prints in this new series now done and sent out to the waiting collectors, the general style of the series is perhaps becoming apparent - that is, there is no general style! We are going to career from pillar to post this time, on a journey through the centuries, never pausing very long at any particular spot.
Some of you may be wondering if ukiyo-e is going to play any part at all in this set - we have seen none yet - and I can ask you not to worry, because of course we will be visiting that genre too, probably any number of times before the end. But as long-time collectors of mine well know, I consider it very much a 'mission' to help people understand that the Japanese print lives in a wider world than simply that of the ukiyo-e courtesans and actors with which we are all most familiar.
In fact, one of my motivations in creating a series of prints like this is to help erase in people's minds the equation that 'The Japanese Print' = 'Ukiyo-e'. Ukiyo-e is simply one of the types of image that can be created with this 'technology'.
At the moment that I am writing this newsletter item, I have yet to decide on the topic for the fourth print in the series. I have a very long list of topics and themes to choose from, a list that I will never see the end of.
Here are a few random notes about the series:
As you can see from these images, each of the prints has a title written in elegant calligraphy. Just as with my previous Mystique series, this is being prepared for me by our friend Mrs. Yoko Tauchi, who has been a long-time supporter of my work. My requests to her are always 'last minute' - "I want to start carving tomorrow ..." - but she never complains, and always sends me a selection of different styles to choose from. Her assistance with this work is much appreciated.
I mentioned in the previous issue of this newsletter that the paulownia storage boxes for this series are being made right here in our own shop, unlike the cases for the previous Mystique series, which were ordered from professional woodworkers. Our woodworking ability doesn't quite match theirs, leaving me with mixed feelings. Whenever I see woodblock prints made by not-so-experienced amateurs, I notice that the prints usually differ from each other - they look 'home made', whereas my own ideal is to make all 200 prints in a batch look exactly the same. But when making these wooden cases, my 'amateur' status clearly shows, and these too look somewhat 'home-made'.
Ah well, isn't home cooking always more tasty?