Today's postings

  1. [Baren 28096] Stephen Kinsella Inc. ("Bridget Pilip")
  2. [Baren 28097] Re: Stephen Kinsella Inc. (Mary Kuster)
  3. [Baren 28098] Victoria woodblock bootcamp 2005 with Richard Steiner: notes (Barbara Mason)
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Message 1
From: "Bridget Pilip"
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005 12:34:36 -0700
Subject: [Baren 28096] Stephen Kinsella Inc.
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A friend referred me to Stephen Kinsella Inc. Fine Art Papers.
They are based in St. Louis.
The prices are very good.
I am going to order their sample books.
Have any of you used them before?
Any comments?
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Message 2
From: Mary Kuster
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 20:33:06 -0400
Subject: [Baren 28097] Re: Stephen Kinsella Inc.
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I've been using Kinsella for years. Good prices, delivery is good, no
damage to paper during shipping.
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Message 3
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 00:47:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [Baren 28098] Victoria woodblock bootcamp 2005 with Richard Steiner: notes
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Day One: Richard was a delight and very funny. He considers himself solidly in the camp of modern hanga printmakers and had been in Japan since 1970. He has been teaching hanga for 20 years. He teaches at University and says he is less traditional than Dave but more traditional than Graham, at who's studio we were working. Richard says he teaches many students each year and thinks that woodblock is very alive in Japan, both the traditional and modern types. Richard pushes the kento to the outside of the block, almost to the edge of the paper. This is unlike the 3/4 distance we are traditionally taught. He feels it gives more control. Traditionally the design is transferred by the thin Kozo paper, but as I stated earlier, Richard uses mylar and double sided carbon paper to transfer his designs, including the kento. My personal experience with this is you had better be a real good carver as if you take liberties with your design you will have problems. I mentioned this and and he said
that you should have it worked out ahead of time, not to do designing on the block. (Easy for him to say as you know me...not the most rigid person.) Richard also prints on textured plastic film that is adheared to the block with double stick tape. Be sure the tape is wide and covers the entire block or you will get stripes in your work. I tried this on two blocks and it was very interesting. The texture was amazing and of course as you are working the ink does not dry so you have a lot of time to print. Unlike the wood, it all sits on top of the plastic. I was very pleased with this and put it all over one block for a background texture. Richard said if you wanted texture in only one spot, you just stick the plastic down and carve it away where you don't want it....I forgot to ask if you get a build up of paste and pigment on the edge of the plastic but can see careful inking might be needed if you decided to use this method. I am hunting this film and will let you know if I find
it in the United States. Richard also used a small break away knife for cutting tiny was very sharpp and thin so you could just toss the blade and never need to sharpen obvious plus. These knives are very cheap in Japan so he is sending me one. They are used for cutting paper stencils. When you are ready to trace your design, use small symbols for colors and trace these along with the lines. This will keep you from getting confused as to which color goes where. Richard either tapes the mylar down or uses push pins to hold it to the block when transfering the design. He advises cutting the kento after you make proof prints incase you need to adjust. He lines it up either by eye or with tape for these first prints. When carving he advises using the largest knives first and working to the smallest lines. He says this keeps your wood strong for the fine lines as you will not have a chance of cutting them off accidentally while clearing. I found this to be a good way
to work and since I had so much of the block "carved" so fast, I really felt I had gotten a huge amount done. It was mentally a good thing. Richard demonstrated a knife blade fade, that is a rolled edge. He took a large bull nosed chisel and shaved off the edge of a flat surface, saying it would be a softer edge. I think this worked, but will look more closely at the print I got in trade to be sure. If the wood you are carving is soft, cover it with a layer of Elmer's school glue before carving. This will strengthen it and it will all wash away before you print as it is watersoluble.

Day 2: Printing 101....there is not best way to do it, just lots of good ways. Shin Torniko...shin means machine made and torinoko means paper made with pulp. There are 4 types of paper, Gampi, Pulp(wood) Mulberry(Kozo), Mitsamata. Richard uses paper made with half wood pulp and half Mitsamata. Lots of papers are made with Mitsamata, Kozo and pulp. The motion of moving the frame makes triangles of the long fibers and the pulp fills in the voids as the paper is made. If you are printing lots of colors you need Kozo paper, which our Yamagichi and Iwano paper is. If you are printing a few colors, the other paper will be fine. However, I have to tell you, I printed my final print on the Yamaguchi paper and it was just a joy to print with. So I think I will keep using it....I printed also on McClain's shin torinoko, the least expensive one and it is fine to work with and nice and white. It does not absorb the pigment and moisture as well as the kozo paper. I also used Kitakata paper and
mulberry paper from Hiromi paper. Both of these are soft and light weight and needed a carrier sheet to hold them aloft so an added hassel when printing. Also the Kitakata paper stuck to the block a bit and caused me to have to wipe it off a bit between prints. I also used McClains Hanga Dosa paper...Richard said this means sized paper for was too soft so don't think I will use it again. We proofed on Cason cotton drawing paper, 90# heavy weight 18x24".it was $20 CDN for 20 sheets so cheap and it worked acceptably. I think it would be ok for small work and for few colors. Richard dampened the paper the night before, putting it into a newsprint stack similar to the one Dave uses. He sprayed the sheets and brushed the water out with the paper brush, a bit easier to control for us new hanga people. Moisten paper on the smooth side. Richard moistens about 10 sheets and then restacks the paper. This puts a layer of air between each sheet. (I did not check, I just took his
word for this) Richard uses a thin piece of wood between the layer of folded newsprint at the front of the stack. This makes it easier to lift the newsprint stack up off the printing paper. He lays a sheet of plastic over the stack to keep it damp. Richard uses a super black ink and had desinged his own mixing brushes with a long ferrule and short handle. They work well as you can either drop the tiniest drop from them or really pile on the pigment to a large area. They are round for colors and a flat one for black. At $8 they are more than the hokobi brushes, but I liked them so of course had to get a few. (It pays to have every tool ever made for printmaking....I know because I have them all.) Richard uses tube ink, gouche or watercolor or tube ink from Japan. He squeezes it onto the side of the dish and adds it slowly to the water with the mixing brush so he knows when it is all dissolved. He mixes all the pigments for his works at the beginning and makes a test patch on a scrap
of mattboard or on the edge of the original drawing if there is room, marking which color goes to which symboled area. He stores the ink in small plastic non spill containers. McClains carries these and she gets them from Richard. They are truly air tight and will not spill if the lid is on correctly. He markes each one with the name of the color, the name of the print and the symbol of the area it covers. He puts the paper in front of him, the water sprayer to the right at the top, the pigment and brush next down the right side of printing area and the baren at the edge of the table. He sits the printing brush in a small dish, hair side down. He has a small scrubby sponge, the yellow one with the green rough top, cut into 1x2" square. He puts the oil on this sponge and uses this to transfer oil to the baren. He stores this in a small plastic container with the spill proof lid. Use only camilla oil, light sewing machine oil, bicycle oil or very good olive oil. He keeps the paste and
water brush to his left. He uses a double ball bearing baren to print large flat areas. He uses a disc baren, which has a replacable disc, for a lot of work (about $36 from McClains) and even uses the black plastic pla baren for some things. (about $5 from the baren mall) He has regular barens tied with bamboo at home but has none over $100 so does not print in the same manner as Dave Bull. He rarely prints a color more than once and really rarely more than twice. He says the Koyoto school is more into strong colors printed in one pass than the Tokyo school where subtle layers are applied, although the two are slowly merging. I assume he means artists are traveling back and forth and sharing ideas and techniques.

I will write a second continued edition tomorrow...I am too tired to do more but am home and happpy and had an excellent time. Had bumber to bumper traffic, stop and go from the Seattle Tacoma airport almost all the way to Olympia...rotten drive. However, Sharri and Linda and I were sure reliving the week so the time passed quickly. The ferry ride was a marvel, as always.
Best to all,