About this print
I’ve created this special edition woodblock print of a female nude seated in water, after Narumi, by individually printing it by hand onto Japanese Kanoko paper. The original design, by Japanese artist Ichijō Narumi, was first published in 1906 in a simple two-colour version.
I have used tools, techniques and materials similar to those that would have been used around 100 years ago in Japan to create the original edition. However, my own interpretation of Narumi’s design for this special edition involved adding a third layer of colour from a block which had the grain exaggerated by means of a wire brush.
The print making process
Japanese cutting knives and chisels were used to carve into pieces of flat, smooth cherry wood to create the printing blocks. I abraded one of the blocks with a wire brush to bring out the grain pattern of the wood. I then printed each colour from these blocks using pigmented inks. During the printing process, I apply ink to a block, and then lay the paper onto it. Next, I press on the back of the paper using a Japanese hand-printing press called a baren.
Each colour in the design is printed from the three different blocks to build up the layers. This is how I achieve the variety and depth of colour in the final print. The use of the exaggerated grain in the extra block lends a shimmering quality to the water surface. The unprinted areas also allow for an appreciation of the delicate beauty of the Japanese washi paper.
Every print in a batch is made in the same way, but each time I ink and press the blocks slightly differently. This results in a succession of seemingly identical but actually unique prints. Each and every one is an individual, hand crafted work of art.
This woodblock print of a Female Nude Seated in Water is a version of a design by Ichijō Narumi. Whilst this special edition has the extra layer printed on the water, Narumi’s original design of 1906 is a simpler two colour version (see also Female Nude after Narumi). If you’re attracted to Japanese designs, you might also like Koson’s Egret, or Hiroshige’s Blossoming Plum.
When the print is finished, I blind print my signature seal in the corner so it appears embossed.
Print size is 5″ x 7½” (12.5cm x 19cm) approx.
The print comes mounted and ready to frame, with double bevel-cut mount – overall size is 11″ x 14″ (28cm x 36cm) approx.
I mount the print onto the backing board using photo corners. I also attach an information sheet explaining how the print was made on the reverse.
The print comes packaged in a crystal clear cellophane bag. I send prints in a board-backed envelope by Royal Mail.