Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mokuhanga Workshop with Takeda Sensei

The past three days I participated in a Mokuhanga and Mokulito printmaking workshop at Pratt Art Center in Seattle, WA...and it was absolutely fantastic! Takeda Sensei is an amazing artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. He is originally from Japan but has lived in Mexico making and teaching art for the past 50 years! He has recently been implementing a new technique called Mokulito -- a sort of combination of Mokuhanga and Lithography.

Starting from the beginning: Mokuhanga is traditional Japanese woodblock printing. You use many different blocks, each with a different color, to build up an image. We spent the first couple days of the workshop developing 2 - 3 plates in order to practice this technique. We started by printing the base color -- just a solid rectangle of color to act as the first layer. We used guache mixed with a little bit of nori paste (rice glue) and water. The goal was to get a nice transparent color that captures the wood grain and texture of the plate itself.

Mokulito is a process that involves using lithography on wood instead of stone or metal. It's pretty much the same process as in traditional lithography except that it is on wood and thus involves some different chemical mixtures. Master Takeda uses this process as the last step on his mokuhanga prints. It's like being able to add a final drawing to a print...the possibilities are mind boggling!

Mokulito test plate.
 I ended up with 8 larger prints and a few small ones that I was just playing around with. I really love mokuhanga -- the process is very sculptural and very fun to do! It's so challenging to think about the layers and really integrating colors effectively...I can see spending a life time exploring the depths of this process!

Master Takeda and group working on Mokulito.

Mokulito test prints.

My mokulito test prints
I am so very thankful that I was able to take part in this workshop! I met some amazing and wonderful artists and got to learn a very rare print making technique with a most wonderful, kind and knowledgeable teacher! ...and I got to practice a little Japanese too! :D