Today's postings

  1. [Baren 44870] making art (Marilynn Smith)
  2. [Baren 44871] Re: making art (Diane Cutter)
  3. [Baren 44872] In praise of the hand made (ArtfulCarol #
  4. [Baren 44873] Re: In praise of the hand made (Renee)
  5. [Baren 44874] Lasercut and Woodcut Print ("Kalle Pihlajasaari")
  6. [Baren 44875] Re: making art (key sevn)
  7. [Baren 44876] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification (Blog Manager)
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Message 1
From: Marilynn Smith
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 14:40:31 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44870] making art
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I sat outside my condo at our table in the hall yesterday doing
woodblock. My rabbits are almost done. Seems I had cut a few pieces of
paper a bit too wide and I was trimming on them. My neighbor popped
out of her condo and said oh how cute. My reply was that I was not
really pleased with the run but they are at least almost done. She saw
me trimming away and said oh my you are too fussy no one will care
about that. She is not a wood block artist. She said to me that when
she buys art she looks for imperfections, because that is how she can
tell that it was hand done.

Interesting, imperfections show that a piece was hand done. I think my
neighbor is an astute person who truly understands art. So, now,
instead of looking at imperfections in my work as a bad thing I will
treasure them because they say my work was done by my hand.

Have a good and wonderful day and a great 2012.

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Message 2
From: Diane Cutter
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 15:00:48 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44871] Re: making art
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I really like how you expressed yourself, Marilyn. I learning to feel the same way.


Interesting, imperfections show that a piece was hand done. I think my neighbor is an astute person who truly understands art. So, now, instead of looking at imperfections in my work as a bad thing I will treasure them because they say my work was done by my hand.

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Message 3
From: ArtfulCarol #
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 16:45:26 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44872] In praise of the hand made
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Not that we intentionally make any mistakes, but these thoughts came to me
about happy accidents.

It was interesting what Marilyn said about imperfections and hand work:
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Message 4
From: Renee
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 19:35:01 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44873] Re: In praise of the hand made
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Fellow Bareners,

This has been such a great discussion! I'm so grateful to be on vacation to enjoy all the comments as they rush in. I've been swaying back and forth, machines, no machines -- still, for me, the creativity is the important part, inspiration shared and an interest in the imperfections are all valid and interesting. I do try, as I age, to cut the lines carefully and not always perfectly -- sometimes a revision takes place -- all within the limits of human endeavors. I love the ideas of opportunity to respond to the materials and the connection to the wood itself and the careful consideration to the work ("there is an art to every labor"). I am trying to understand 'Wabi Sabi' and the subtle ideas there, I think this has some value in this discussion -- and maybe someone has more insight to this idea or others in this vein of thought. I appreciate what Marilyn said(imperfections and hand work) and the bit of lovely poem that Carol included ( too much perfection).

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year!

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Message 5
From: "Kalle Pihlajasaari"
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 19:39:13 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44874] Lasercut and Woodcut Print
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Hi Everyone,

Seasons Greeting to all and thank you to all the Baren #50 organisers and
print makers for a lovely Christmas present.

Never thought of using that saying 'storm in a teacup' but it seems
appropriate here. Lovely thread by the way, lively too:-)

Taking pictures or sitting in a Camera Obscura is tool use.

Using a computer program or a repro camera to adjust contrast, invert a
picture or separate colours is tool use.

Printing out key blocks on a copier, laser, inkjet or film printers is tool

Any computer plotting method like a pen plotter (my plan) or laser marker is
tool use.

Laser or CNC cutting or curing of photo polymers or photo resists is tool

Even using a manual pantograph or projector is for scaling is tool use.

Using a half tone or gravure screen or a mezzotint rocker is tool use.

Manual engraving with a Dremel engraver or a wire brush, knife or gouge is
tool use (my plan).

Grinding pigments and mulling them into ink is tool use

Using a Baren or a wooden spoon is tool use

Using an etching or relief press or a steam roller is tool use (my plan).

Some are more manual than others but all are tools and the manual aspect is
a continuous spectrum, at no point can one find a obvious place to draw a

For the moment I believe that all are honest art or craft techniques as long
as they are not fraudulently represented, erring on the side of caution here
is best for the conscience.

Don't call it a wood cut if you used lino, MDF, polymer or something else

Don't say hand cut if it wasn't

Don't call it a wood engraving if you used plank grain wood

Don't call it hand pulled if you used a motorised press

Don't call it Moku Hanga if you used oil based inks or a press

Don't call a digital output technique editionned in art circles

Don't forget to mention hand colouring if it is expected to be a relief only

Don't call high quality machine made paper hand made

--- Stick to the facts as best you know them and honestly describe your work

A relief print can be made in many ways

Using a stationery shop rubber stamp is a relief print but not the same as

It would be frivolous to say that we have to return to blowing dirt onto
rocks for it to be called TOOL FREE art.

Below you can see why my first statement will be borne out in some years.

You will recall the advent of the Compact Disk, it came as a shock to some
of the audiophile community who were aghast (a word I have never used
before) at the reduction of their precious analogue waveforms into digital
staircase representations. The electronic development at the time and since
was so fast and wide spread that there are in fact few cases where a cheap
modern CD and HiFi cannot exceed the best sound experience available from
all but the high priced analogue equipment of then or now that few
possessed. The steps in the waveforms are no longer detectable and the pops
and snaps are now gone. Nostalgia wants the pops and snaps but they were
never part of the performed music, they were NOISE, the soft clipping of the
guitar amplifiers was trendy and common because better was not affordable it
was not actually intended to be there, these days it is retro, not purist to
want valve amplification. Well the result of all this digital angst was that
compact disks were issued with a code, either DDD, ADD or AAD to indicate
how the disk was mastered, the A was for analogue and D for digital, the
fists letter was for the recording, the second for the mastering/mixing and
the third for the media, always a D. How often do you see this code on the
disks these days, it is gone with the wind and the buyer is still satisfied
because the lowest CD quality is now usually higher than the average vinyl
records of the previous era.

In the same way as it is still NOW possible purchase vinyl records that have
been mastered and mixed on analogue tapes and play them back on valve
amplifiers it is still possible to purchase hand made art that has been hand
drawn, hand carved and hand printed.

So if it comforts the print maker let him label his prints as HHH, MHH, MMH
or MMM depending on how much he has used Machines or his Hands to produce
the image.

As the world moves inexorably towards the lowest common denominator in all
fields. The consumer market will not pay more for quality he cannot
appreciate, MPEG4 or other cable/satellite encoding is poor at low intensity
compared to a well tuned PAL Betamax recording but all that is needed for
the masses. Those arts, crafts and skills that exceed the base level will
stand out prouder and more obviously. The market for them will diminish
because you can view a digital image of a master's print on an iPad and less
people have the experience to discern the difference but the true value will
grow from rarity and skills shortage and the fact that they cannot be mass
produced with a simple mouse click. The only way to be sure of how a print
is produced is to purchase from source which means increased profits for us
print makers.

You can bet your uwabaki that the masters of any era would have scoffed at
people emulating historical styles with modern technology yet been happy;
perhaps only after a generation or so; to integrate what modern technology
was available at the time into any new innovative print styles.

Let us do the same.


I think this was mentioned here previously

This is what some print makers fear will diminish their status. Photo
typesetting and computers have made letterpress printing redundant but it is
still practiced by many so we should not be fearful. This is as dangerous
to print making as DTP is to letterpress printing, the skills and crafts
will go where they are appreciated and the mass produced methods will be
sold to the masses.


As for differences in a laser cut block and a hand carved block there will
not be that many eventually. As mentioned already the router may not be
able to make narrow tapered cuts easily but it just takes a better machine
and bits. The laser will usually leave a square shoulder (though it does
not have to on the better machines and operators) that may be detectable on
deeply embossed work. The laser resolution is already higher than you can
carve by hand, 1200 dpi is pretty common on vector cutters and needs
magnification to detect (can you see the 600 dpi dots on a laser print out).
There does not have to be any unintended printing areas as they can be
edited out but if they do occur in identical places to a known genuine print
they may signal a copy. The choice of printing surface may be a give away
if the texture is incorrect for the line edges or the period. Line widths
may be the give away on detailed prints, it will be work (craft work on the
computer) to calibrate the cut width and depth for any specific cutter and
material so that fine lines wont come out narrower if the laser burns more
from the edges. Unexpected parts of the edge may break off because they
were cut at a weak point in the grain that is different from the original.

As for looking at the blocks, they will be immediately recognisable so will
never be available for viewing if the deception needs to be maintained.


I have modified a pen plotter to print directly on type high mounted lino
blocks so that I can plot my key line or colour separations directly onto
the blocks in good register on multi colour prints. When printing on a
proofing press (hand operated) it is a bonus if all the blocks are carved in
register so the colours go where they should I have had limited success in
transferring inkjet printed key blocks onto lino without using the
traditional carbon paper and this is not all that accurate for a novice like
me. In time I may discard the digital crutches that I use but for the
moment this is my action plan (plotter electronics died so now looking for a
new brain transplant but have one lined up in January.


With relief

Kalle Pihlajasaari Idyllic Press

Johannesburg, South Africa

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Message 6
From: key sevn
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 20:02:42 GMT
Subject: [Baren 44875] Re: making art
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Tool is not just a tool - it's also source of inspiration. Some people
think that they control the tool, but they forget that tool is also (more
or less) controlling them. Sometimes you can even ask tool - hey - what
should I do now? I was using mostly chisels before, but recently I'm
discovering how different knife is. So primal and pleasant.
People ask about lasers and other things - other people answers. that's ok.
that's interesting. You never know what will inspire you. It's not off
topic for me.
(I apologize for saying chaotic lol)
yo in 2012.

Digest Appendix

Postings made on [Baren] members' blogs
over the past 24 hours ...

Subject: Year-end wrapup ...
Posted by: Dave Bull

With the final batch of new year prints being dropped off at the post office this evening, the year's work can finally be said to be finished! As it is still 2011 here in Tokyo, I don't want to post an image of the print just yet, but it will be online tomorrow morning over on the New Year card page of the site.

And in what is a 'first' for me, the print this time wasn't hand-carved and printed all by me. It seemed to make no sense to make two prints - one for the collectors of my personal print work, and one for the Mokuhankan business - so we wrapped all the mailing lists together, and sent everybody the same print.

I carved it late in November and then gave Tsushima-san the job of printing. Or should say, almost all the printing. We did it the traditional way: the 'master' printer here did the key block, and she did all the colour blocks. And as we needed 300 copies, this was quite a substantial job for her, far and away the most copies of anything that she has printed.

We split the batch in half, and did 150 at a time, mostly so that she could get any particular colour done in one session, something that would be very difficult for her if there had been 300 in the batch.

While she was working on this, I spent a couple of days this past week getting the bookkeeping done for . . .
[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog Mokuhankan Conversations.
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Subject: Imagining Baluchistan
Posted by: Andrew Stone

Here are two versions of a small print I've been working on.
They are about 4" x 8" in size.
The first is printed on a small fragment of my home-sized Japanese paper;

the second is on Magnani a handmade,190g/m2 watercolor paper that I've been trialing to see if it would work as a locally available paper.

[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog Lacrime di Rospo.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.