Today's postings

  1. [Baren 29411] Trying to do it all (Nels Johnson)
  2. [Baren 29412] Re: Jennifer's Introduction, Ball-bearing Baren (Annie Bissett)
  3. [Baren 29413] Re: Jennifer's Introduction, Ball-bearing Baren ("robert")
  4. [Baren 29414] Re: Jennifer's Introduction, Ball-bearing Baren ("robert")
  5. [Baren 29415] Newbie + Better Tools = Bandaids (Bretsch Katie)
  6. [Baren 29416] tool question (Marissa)
  7. [Baren 29417] year of the dog exchange (brad robinson)
  8. [Baren 29418] Re: tool question ("robert")
  9. [Baren 29419] Re: tool question (Marissa)
  10. [Baren 29420] Re: tool question (FurryPressII #
  11. [Baren 29421] Re: Signup for Year of the dog exchange will close on DECEMBER 10th (Julio.Rodriguez #
  12. [Baren 29422] tools (Barbara Mason)
  13. [Baren 29423] Update and Questions ("Roy")
  14. [Baren 29424] Re: visiting ("R. Mandel")
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Message 1
From: Nels Johnson
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 08:21:50 -0600
Subject: [Baren 29411] Trying to do it all
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Hi Carol,

"Decision time has been coming on for a while---how to handle both
And that's where I am now. Any thoughts?"

It's interesting how your question hit a nerve in many other artists
trying to settle competing passions between different mediums. I too
have those competing passions trying to resolve themselves. Strong
attachments and passion associated with a medium that has filled a
rewarding spot in your life for so many years.

My basic response is "Life is all about change." The world around us
is constantly evolving and changing. So why wouldn't that be the
same for ourselves? Yes, it is difficult to let go of past passions
that have been so important to us. But, if they are in competition
with new passions that promise another highly rewarding experience,
and that is causing problems between the two, then you need to take a
hard look at both and decide which one is going to do the most for
you, or how you can effectively combine both.

My internal competition is between photography (which is a form of
printmaking) and printmaking in the form of intaglio and woodblock.
I have often wondered if one would crowd the other out. My attempts
to resolve this conflict has resulted in many of my printmaking
images getting their origin from photographs. An attempt to still
serve both passions! Perhaps it is just a stop gap measure, but that
is where it has been resolve to for now. As for competition between
intaglio and woodblock - well now! My present thoughts are that
retirement from my four decades as a railroad engineer are coming to
an end and my new career as an artist about to begin. Living in
Wisconsin and experiencing the bitter cold winter that has presently
enveloped us here (it's presently O degrees farenheit!), I have
thoughts of traveling to warmer climes in the winter. I see
woodblock as the perfect printmaking medium to travel with. All of
the materials are easily transportable or shippable. No toxic
materials to deal with getting across an international border.
Intaglio with it's toxic rosins, asphaltum, paint thinner, acids, and
so on and so on, are more suitable to when I am home in my own
personal studio where it is much easier to take precautions.

So, for now, I have shifted my passions and priorities around to a
point where I am comfortable with them. Will I have more problems
with them in the future? Probably, and I will rethink and deal with
them at that time. Life is constantly evolving and changing, and I
see no reason why I shouldn't be doing the same.

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Message 2
From: Annie Bissett
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 09:41:11 -0500
Subject: [Baren 29412] Re: Jennifer's Introduction, Ball-bearing Baren
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Jennifer, what beautiful pastels. I really look forward to seeing what you
do with woodblock. Please let us know when you put some prints up on your
web site.

You're right about taking a class in moku hanga. Nothing beats watching
someone who knows how to do it. Beyond words and ideas and even visuals, at
a workshop you get sounds and touch. Hearing the sounds that a maru bake
brush makes on the block in the hands of an experienced printer, feeling a
properly moistened sheet of paper, touching the rice paste to see just how
thick it is - all of these get under your skin almost by osmosis. I highly
recommend taking a class if at all possible. You could also search for a
fellow artist in your area who does woodblock. I visited Lynita Shimizu in
Connecticut recently and a few hours with her in her wonderful studio gave
me a whole bunch of new information that I can begin to try and integrate
into my work. I'm finding that woodblock artists by and large really like to
share their experience.

As others have mentioned, there's also a DVD available from Graham Scholes
( that gives an awful lot of useful information
for someone who wants to seriously pursue moku hanga.

On another note, I also want to report that I got a ball-bearing baren and
after a two-day non-stop printing session have experienced NO PAIN in my
wrist or shoulder! Many thanks to all of you who suggested it - it's well
worth the price to be free of pain. (I think I'm dealing with repetitive
stress injury from 20 years in front of a computer.)

Best to all,

Annie B
Massachusetts USA
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Message 3
From: "robert"
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 15:52:28 +0000
Subject: [Baren 29413] Re: Jennifer's Introduction, Ball-bearing Baren
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OOOOPS. I forgot the link.
Hello and welcome Jennifer!
I am also a relatively new person here and I have found that these are my people!!!
There is such a wealth of knowledge that is available here.

To everyone!
I have made some huge changes in the printmakers website due to the wonderful offerings from Lawrence Finn, a printmaker from Australia! Thanks Lawrence!
I welcome you all to view the leaps and bounds this site is taking and I can't urge you all enough to take part in it!
Cheers and print..NOW. Right now!
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Message 4
From: "robert"
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 15:50:38 +0000
Subject: [Baren 29414] Re: Jennifer's Introduction, Ball-bearing Baren
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Repeat of above message
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Message 5
From: Bretsch Katie
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 08:52:10 -0800
Subject: [Baren 29415] Newbie + Better Tools = Bandaids
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Studied tools discussion here, mall offerings and educational stuff on
web site and hied myself off to the nearby woodworking specialty store.
Got a better set of tools and fancy strop thing. Progress on first
block WORLDS better, but pass the bandaids. Can't sit in normal fashion
for more than a few minutes due to bad back. So, carving semi-reclined
on couch in pile of blankets, chips and dogs. No doubt a humorous
sight. Will try to get someone to take a pic for you.

Also started through the exchange archives. WOW!! Y'all are AMAZING!!!
Thanks to all who contribute to this online collective effort. What
wonderful, thoughtful work and incredible images.
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Message 6
From: Marissa
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 12:09:18 -0500
Subject: [Baren 29416] tool question
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I have a number of the Namisei Moku Hanga To woodblock carving
tools from McClain's. I am very tempted by the Traditional Knives
from Shimizu Hamono set of 11 tools sold at the Baren Mall as well
as a medium to large size bull nose chisel. I am not unhappy with my
current tools but I am curious that if the better and larger set would
help my carving as much as switching from western to Japanese tools
initially helped. A lot of the tools in the set will probably be
tools that I already have but not all. I don't have any money for
printmaking now but after Christmas I just may. Has anybody here
tried both tools and can compare the tools. All I have heard is that
they are nice because they need to be sharpened less and that isn't
really a good enough reason for me to invest all the money.

What tools do you use most often? What shapes are the most commonly
used by woodblock printmakers?

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Message 7
From: brad robinson
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 09:12:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 29417] year of the dog exchange
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i was curious if there was a cut off date for signing up for the year of the dog exchange? i counted 52 people signed up as of today.

i know i'm jumping the gun, but i have my blocks cut and would love to print them sometime soon and wanted to have a rough idea of how many to print so i have enough.

anybody know the answer?

thanks, brad
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Message 8
From: "robert"
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2005 17:13:37 +0000
Subject: [Baren 29418] Re: tool question
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I have a set from mcClaines and they are good. BUT, I have been slowly replacing them with the Shimizu and Michi tools offered there and they have made a world of difference. They are really easy to maintain a sharp edge and I only use the little sharpening set that I bought in the barens mall as well. They have made my work three times as good, even though I am relatively new to wood. I am carving on only cherry planks. So I give them A BIG thumbs up!
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Message 9
From: Marissa
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 12:17:57 -0500
Subject: [Baren 29419] Re: tool question
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I exclusively use shina plywood and i think that is a lot easier to
carve than cherry. Maybe I will be able to afford the set someday

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Message 10
From: FurryPressII #
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 12:37:36 EST
Subject: [Baren 29420] Re: tool question
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Would like to put Japanese tools into western handles

john c.
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Message 11
From: Julio.Rodriguez #
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 12:18:30 -0600
Subject: [Baren 29421] Re: Signup for Year of the dog exchange will close on DECEMBER 10th
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"i was curious if there was a cut off date for signing up for the year of
the dog exchange? i counted 52 people signed up as of today."

Hi Brad and all....normally we leave it open till mid-December...but since
the doggie exchange has been open now for a few weeks....why don't we
close it on 12/10 so we can all get printing before the Holidays ?

That would give any last minute folks a chance to make up their mind if
they want to participate...

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Message 12
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 11:38:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Baren 29422] tools
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Tools.....Seems everyone has their favorites...
I have two flex cut tools, a 1.2mm and 3mm u gouge, both are great tools and I really like them. They seem to stay as sharp as the Japanese tools.I love the Japanese tools, but the flex cut are a good fit for my hand so I agree with Charles that they are easier to hold. Also the rouge and leather strop or leather glued to a piece of wood work really well to keep tools sharp.Pull the tool toward you, do not try to push it forward on the leather or you will be carving leather. I think Jim Mundie cuts a gouge in wood and uses the rouge in the cut, moving the tool back and forth to hone it and finds that works well for him.

Again, I mention that you need to get your head over your work with the knife, I had such trouble carving ever since I started doing woodblock and when taking the class last summer from Richard Steiner, I was frustrated so asked him why I could not seem to really see what I was doing....such a simple answer, my head was behind my carving instead of over it....the carving bench on Graham's site is good for this.( ) Mine seems to be less easy to use than Sharri's, but think I am a more violent carver. If one uses two strokes instead of one it is definitely easier to go deeper...I keep forgetting wood is not linoleum. My husband figured out a way to hook it down to the table and I have had no trouble with it since then, I do recommend it also and think anyone could make one with a little effort. I think Graham might make one for you for about $ soon as he recovers from falling off a ladder.

I like the smaller "to". I started with a 6mm one and now use a 4.5mm and it seems to work a lot better for think it is a learning curve like everything else.
What you get comfortable with works and sharp tools are the answer, more so that the tool itself.
Best to all,
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Message 13
From: "Roy"
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 15:29:01 -0700
Subject: [Baren 29423] Update and Questions
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Every day new and exciting posts appear on the forum! I figure it's about
time I became a bit more active. Here are a few of my thoughts, but mostly
questions I'm afraid.

1. I have finished the key block for my Exchange #27 offering and am about
to print my kyogo. I have pasted with tacky glue tissue paper to regular
printer paper for this. It seemed to work well for me in the past. I will
print about twice as many as I need in case of future errors.
I plan five blocks for now.

2. I am still awaiting arrival of my paper and pigments and baren. This
will be my first try with hosho paper.

3. I plan to use Speedball water-soluble printmaking ink for pigment.
Is that a good idea? How much should it be diluted? I am trying to
many new things besides trying to grind pigments this time. Besides I
don't have a muller.

4. I make my own rice paste from rice flour in the microwave.

5. I would like to use part of my key block for embossing as the last one,
but don't want the lines to show when I print the key block. Am I going to
have to cut those lines out of my key block and carve another block
just for the embossing?

6. Skipping ahead to the last phase -- for the exchanges, should or should
not they have edition numbers on them. Should the prints be exclusively for
the exchange or can I try to sell more elsewhere? Yes, I read David Bull's
article on edition numbers.

7. I have Grandchildren in the Seaside area of Oregon and am seriously
considering traveling to the northwest for the August printmaking
get-together. What happens at these? What should I expect? Is it moku
hanga? Ink? Expensive?

8. Are there any other moku hanga practitioners here in Northern Arizona. I
am pretty much working alone here, but with [Barenforum], or course.

9. And, by the way, I entered one of my woodcut prints in our community
college art show, got juried in (80/400) and sold it!

Roy Leroux
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Message 14
From: "R. Mandel"
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2005 15:00:24 -0800
Subject: [Baren 29424] Re: visiting
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Hi Jean, I live in Huntington Beach, Ca, which is actually between Los Angeles and San Diego. I have not been super active in Baren during the last several months, but still recieve all the e-mails and love the site. Right now I am doing some other kinds of printmaking, but would love to meet you and have you visit my studio which is in my home. We will be home during the holidays so please feel free to call. My phone number is 714-xxx-xxxx. I hope it will work out. Look forward to meeting you. Bobbie Mandel

>I anticipate that Howard and I will be traveling to the LA-San Diego area between Christmas
>and New Years. We haven't firmed up our travel plans yet. I am still negotiating with my
>hubby about it. Are there any printmakers down there who would like a drop-in visit? I'd love
>to meet you and see your studio.

>Jean Womack