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Subject: John Alden and Priscilla Mullins
Posted by: Annie B

click image for larger view


Japanese woodblock (moku hanga)
Paper size: 6" x 8" (15.2 x 20.3 cm)
Image size: 4.75" x 6" (12 x 15.2 cm)
4 shina plywood blocks each
4 hand-rubbed impressions each
Paper: Nishinouchi
Edition: 15

The 400-year time gap plus the paucity of information about these two individuals made depicting them as they might have actually looked practically impossible for me, so I decided to just let myself look at them from here -- from 21st century Northampton, Massachusetts, about 135 miles from where John and Priscilla found themselves in the spring of 1621.

For the portrait of 22-year-old John, I started with William Bradford's description of John as "a hopfull yong man, [who] was much desired." This plus a mention I found on the internet that John was tall made me postulate that he was a "hunk." I looked through dozens of fashion magazines and stock photos of handsome men trying to distill what male beauty looks like in 2009 -- bedroom eyes, metrosexual but still brawny, confident. I distilled features from a number of photographs to come up with a composite hunky anglo guy -- felt a little like a forensic artist (now there's a career idea!). Then I read . . .
[Long item has been trimmed at this point. The full blog entry can be viewed here]

This item is taken from the blog Woodblock Dreams.
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Subject: The Caveat
Posted by: Annie B

Here are the results of yesterday's printing session.


After a long process of sketching various poses, I finally settled on depicting Priscilla as a tragic figure for this portrait. I can't seem to pull my thoughts away from the terrible difficulty of the lives of the women who first came to America. Priscilla was 16 years old in 1620, and her entire family died the first winter in Plymouth. She must have been overwhelmed with fear and grief.

John Alden, on the other had, has come to me as an all-American hunky northern woodsman. He did do some hunting, trapping and trading in Maine and no doubt would have purchased a plaid hunting jacket at LL Bean had it been available. There is a caveat to his attractiveness, though, which you can read in the text at the four corners:


Like most of the people of his time, John Alden would have had lice and fleas infesting his hair and clothing.

Two more colors to be added.

This item is taken from the blog Woodblock Dreams.
'Reply' to Baren about this item.