What is the [Baren]
The search for good tools and materials is a
never-ending activity for the woodblock printmaker.
Unlike days of old, when the technology had wide
commercial applications and supplies were thus
readily available, in the modern world woodblock
printmaking has ... how shall we put this ... a
rather limited appeal.
In consequence, supplies - good supplies
- are difficult to come by in many parts of the
world. But there is one place where woodblock
printmaking is still practiced widely, and
that is Japan. Hobby-level supplies are available
locally in any town, in stationery shops and
do-it-yourself centers, and professional tools are
still made for those who need them.
But Japanese suppliers are focused on their
domestic market and have no ability or experience
in dealing overseas. The foreign customer too,
finds it very difficult to obtain knowledge about
the products that are available in Japan, and how
to get them.
This is where the printmakers of the [Baren]
group are stepping forward - to put these two
The [Baren] Mall is a buying service - it has no
physical store, there is no inventory, and there
are no employees. Orders placed on this website are
transmitted to the mall manager (a [Baren] member),
who also processes the payment. The manager
forwards the order to the appropriate suppliers in
Japan, where the goods are immediately packaged and
shipped directly to the customer (by Air Post).
[Baren] settles the account with the Japanese
suppliers later - receiving a small commission in
return for acting as 'go-between'.
The dealers are happy to have their products
exposed to a global market - the consumers are
happy to be able to have easy access to the
supplies - and the [Baren] group gets a small boost
to its treasury, to help this non-profit group fund
some of the exhibitions and activities it
undertakes around the world.