This print is a very special one for me. It is a reproduction of a surimono designed by Gakutei, and I made it just as I was finishing up the ten years of work on the Hyakunin Isshu series, doing the carving at the same time as doing the printing work on the hundredth poet.

I needed it to be done right away for two reasons - I was planning the beginning of the Surimono Albums series, and needed a 'sample' of the type of print I intended to make, in order to display it in one corner of the big final exhibition of the poets prints. And in addition to this, I needed something to give to all the collectors who would be attending the final party at that exhibition. These people had supported my work so well for such a long time, and I really needed to find a way to thank them that was something more than just buying stuff that they didn't need.

The exhibition opened early in the week and the party was scheduled for Saturday night. Each day that week I printed for a couple of hours early in the morning before heading off to the gallery, and then again until late at night after I came home. It was finished Friday evening, and when I headed off to the gallery Saturday morning, my daughters and parents (who were visiting Japan for the event) worked packaging them all up for the guests.

(click image for a larger version in a 'popup' window)

The recipients seemed to enjoy it, and judging by how many of them requested additional copies, I think that it was a pretty good choice for a gift for them.

And the other part of the plan worked well too, as there were many orders for the new Surimono Album series, and that got off to a good strong start.

Thank you Yajima Gakutei ... you've been dead for well over a hundred years, but you saved my bacon with this one!