Today's postings

  1. [Baren 25150] Re: show in Alaska (Aqua4tis #
  2. [Baren 25151] Re: Simply simple ("David Stones")
  3. [Baren 25152] Re: Simply simple ("marilynn smih")
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Message 1
From: Aqua4tis #
Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 11:55:11 EDT
Subject: [Baren 25150] Re: show in Alaska
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ill look forward to seeing pictures of your work especially the used
congratulations to you and everyone else!!!!!
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Message 2
From: "David Stones"
Date: Sun, 30 May 2004 03:27:49 +0900
Subject: [Baren 25151] Re: Simply simple
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Dear All,

Dave Stones here - with comment on [Baren] subjects needing some
reflection. Maybe I offend - hope not. Maybe a few will think - hope so.

When I came to Japan, a letterpress printer, all I could (was allowed) to do
was teach English... I also found woodblock prints... yet had little money.

I also found simplicity on the first visit to my to-be teacher's workroom.
NO machines, NO computers with Photoshop et al (of course, in 1973) and No
sound except for the knife through wood and the Baren on paper. The
pigments were natural, water-base, the paper hand-made, the tools good
but rudimentary. The mat-floor workroom, like mine later, wasn't
purpose-built - no air-conditioning. Few costs to "start up" and to
create... except it took time - but the hours carving/printing also came
with time to think, modify, improve.

This was and IS traditional (Japanese) moku-hanga or woodblock printing
and any deflection from "by hand from start to finish" is, in my personal
view, a subject to question oneself... as to why?

No, I'm not anti-21st century - I use tools to do non-art tasks/rough-plane
blocks and, in town, I use an old Mac with Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
There's a plate-making machine turning my data into metal sheets and a
4-colour, rotary press - seems half a block long - that thinks 12,000/hr. is
too damn slow. The paper can be hand-made or not - it colours all as auto-
controlled ink ducts command. It printed 14 of my print reproductions for
Rotary Club covers in a few days... excluding the on-screen work/layout. I
was there all the time, solvent-vented and tweaking the micro-registration.
The press crawled at 9,000/hr.

It took me over 20 months to create, carve and baren-print all the 50
original copies of my 14 prints... excluding the pencil sketching/layout.

The point is that for traditional (Japanese) printing, almost anyone can
try it and even the environment will sigh with relief (nice pun?) but the
latter method costs millions/can pollute/needs updates - yet is excellent
for what it's designed to do - mass-production printing for a consumer
world. Here, I exclude art objects to frame and hang...

Just how far from "all hand-made" should an artist stray? Go create/print
something original that no machine does... with the skill of just hands and
a bit of courage to see what YOU can do... all alone. Simple, it may be so.

David S

P.S. Today, I had a request. 30 Japanese teachers want a workshop to
re-study traditional (Japanese) printing methods to teach middle-school.
As the big doors close on some college print shops, smaller doors open...
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Message 3
From: "marilynn smih"
Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 13:57:31 -0700
Subject: [Baren 25152] Re: Simply simple
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This is an interesting discussion. To me the question is: is it the print,
the design, that is important or is it how we arrived at the final product,
ie, the process???
I doubt that I would ever enjoy Mikes big machine, but I do not have space
for it and I travel between houses too much.
I love the artists hand created work start to finish. To me there is
something human and unique about work that is not so very perfect, hand
done. We are not machines and we are not cameras, we are humans and there
is a feeling to work that is totally artist done that no machine can
Than again I have seen photos that are very thought provoking and seem to
say special things all of their own.
Mike may be using a machine but I do find his work intersting, thought
provoking and unique. But on the flip side it is more perfect than what a
hand carved piece would be, not hand done, so therefore more precise.
So this leads me to think that the print is different when a machine carves
it than when a human carves it. So it is more than just process that is
different here, it is that with a fine tuned process perhaps something is
lost, something personal and human. I think here Mike has gained a little
and lost a little. History can decide. Meanwhile I am going to treasure
each print I own.