One of the pleasures of my life as a woodblock printmaker is the fact that I do my work at home. I don't have to leave the house each morning and get on a train to go to an office somewhere. When I am ready to start work, I simply step into the tatami room of our apartment, and I am there. No commuting! What heaven!
Sometimes in the evenings, after tucking my little girls into bed in their own room, I tell them, "You relax and sleep now, and I'll go to work ... OK?" I then step into the neighbouring room and pick up my tools. The two of them fall asleep to the sound of their father's hammer and chisels ... Tap ... tap ... tap ...
In a way, I think these girls are quite lucky to have a father with this kind of job. They are growing up with quite a clear idea of what my work is like, and how we make a living. They see me make prints and send them out to collectors, and then they see the payments come in, enabling us to pay for our rent and food, etc. Most children can't easily understand what their father does for a living, and where the family income comes from.
But these two understand quite well. They help me with my bookkeeping every month, and they know that it's no use always asking me to buy this and that. I think this will be quite a benefit for them when they are older, and setting up their own households.
There is another side benefit for them to having a printmaker as a father. Occasionally, in their "handicrafts" class at school, they are asked to make a hanga. Do you think they do a good job?