How I made this print
I’ve created this woodblock print of Hiroshige’s Irises by individually printing it by hand onto Japanese Kanoko paper. It’s based on a design by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). With an image from the Rijksmuseum digital archive as my reference, I have coloured the design with shades which I feel appropriate, and used tools, techniques and materials virtually unchanged from those that would have been used to create the original edition back in the 19th century.
I used Japanese tools to carve into pieces of flat, smooth wood to create the printing blocks. I printed each colour from these blocks using pigment powders mixed with water and rice paste. During the printing process, I apply ink to a block, and then lay the paper onto it. I then press on the back of the paper using a Japanese hand-printing press called a baren.
Every print in a batch is made in the same way, but each time the block is inked and pressed 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.
When the print is finished, I blind print my chop seal in the corner so it appears to be embossed.
Print size is 3.5″ x 2.5″ (9cm x 6.5cm) approx. (This is ACEO size).
The print comes mounted and ready to frame, with double bevel-cut mount – overall size is 10″ x 8″ (25.5cm x 20.5cm) 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.