Sosaku Hanga & Orchids in the Wood

Shiko Munakata

My Swimming Whales exploration reminds me of my trip to the Bower Ashton campus library at UWE last October. While exploring the library shelves I came across Shiko Munakata, founder of the Creative Print movement in Japan. His process resonated with me as he also let the wood speak as there is no right and wrong, just the doing of it.

"The essence of hanga lies in the fact that one must give in to the ways of the board," he says. "There is power in the board and one cannot force the tool against that power. It is this power which lies outside this artist, rather than any power within him, that dominates the creation of hanga." Shiko Munakata The Woodblock and the Artist - Southbank Centre London 1991

Naoko Matsubara

On the shelves of UWE library I also found a thin pamphlet hiding between the heavy hardbacks. It's an exhibition booklet of prints by Naoko Matsubara, a Japanese woodblock printer also from the Creative Print Movement. I have fallen in love with her dynamic and expressive work which focuses on nature and architecture, dancers and movement.

"Nature, in a Matsubara print, is not a passive, uncomprehending background to our endeavours, as much as a pulsating force whose destiny is closely intertwined with that of humans." David Waterhouse


Not long after my visit to UWE library and finding Naoko Matsubara and Shiko Munakata's inspiring work I was determined to try and make a two colour print of some orchids I drew at Wisley Gardens a couple of years ago.


It was very experimental as the registration was completely wrong but some interesting results!