Grapevine in Autumn Print

Being surrounded by wineries and seeing the beauty of it all, it only stands to reason to also translate it into images. I intend, over time, to make more woodcuts with viticulture as a theme.

This picture series shows some of the stages how to create a woodcut print in the Moku Hanga style. The print was based on the Sauvignon Blanc grapevines growing at Matua Valley Wines in Waimauku, New Zealand: the winery who developed this wine and made it famous.

The woodcut was made with eight printing surfaces carved in six blocks. By turning a block 180 degrees, or use the reverse side, it can be carved again including registration to save timber when only small parts of the image need to be printed.

The first block is a background gradation to suggest fallen leaves on the ground. This is achieved by applying different pigment mixtures in varying amounts in different layers and brushed onto the block with a wide brush in only one single direction. The Japanese name for this exercise is Bokashi. The glistening shine can be seen on the block in the photo.

I also illustrated a mistake in the registration and how to fix it, as well as a small change in one of the blocks by inserting a new piece of wood and re-carving it. Some photos illustrate the mixing of dry pigments with a bit of alcohol and water to obtain the desired colour. When I mix up colour on a piece of glass I use white paper under the glass which makes it easy to see if the desired effect has been achieved.

Note the amount of newsprint lying around to retain humidity in the paper between printing different blocks. A spray bottle is handy to re-wet the paper if necessary. In the humid Auckland climate in New Zealand it was necessary, and here in the South of France it is an absolute must. Especially at the height of summer when the relative humidity can drop down to sometimes 25%. The only way is to keep your stack of moistened paper in a plastic envelope at all times.

The paper I used is handmade “Hosho”, made of the fibers of inner bark of the Paper mulberry Broussonetia kazinoki or syn. Broussonetia papyrafera, known in Japan as Kozo.

All pictures copyright © to ACW ten Broek

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