hare netsuke

Netsuke - Hare & Rat

Edmund's Hare with the Amber Eyes

I have been looking forward to making a print of Edmund's Hare, who along with 264 other netsuke has had many adventures, travelling great distances and been on display in many spectacular places. I wonder where Edmund has placed this hare which by now is probably reaching celebrity status. It's photograph published in books, magazines, newspapers and in centre of Edmund's writing page on his website the hare looks out from behind the words 'Gallery' with its paw lifted up and ready to shake your hand. Here you meet Ambassador for Edmund's netsuke collection.

I draw the hare directly on to the tracing paper and rub the tracing onto the plywood. My new tools haven't arrived yet so I continue with blunt tools and rough plywood and begin to carve. I then print the finished carving on some Japon Simile paper and some on Somerset Satin 300gms. It's quite a challenge to get the right mix of nori paste with ink. I've read that you don't need to mix nori with the ink for the key block but I quite like the effect even though, again, it's quite a crude image.


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Piebald Rat Gnawing on its Tail

This little rat in Edmund's gallery has a has mischievous nature - holding it's tail up to his mouth nibbling between its paws as if it was an old rope from a sailing ship. I imagine this rat rocking back and forth on the curve of its tail like a see-saw following the carved lines of its own body. Its beady eyes look jet black. In Edmund's description these dark little circles were originally made from Buffalo horn. I print this piebald rat on Japon Simile and Somerset Satin paper. So far I have only printed on dry paper and at some point it will be good to see how these woodblocks print on dampened paper.

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Last November I bought Japanese woodblock printing materials from Intaglio Printmakers to get ready for my My New Years Revolution 2015

Materials

  • Japanese Side Grain Woodblocks 100x150mm

  • Japanese Paper Brush 3"

  • Japanese Inking Brush 24mm

  • Japanese Inking Brush 15mm

  • Japanese Inking Brush 60mm

  • 5×Gampi Tissue

  • 1×Bench Hook 200x300mm

  • Japanese Rice Paste (Nori)

  • Japanese Carbon Ink 150ml

  • Chinese Sumi Ink 250g

  • and 1 Hosho Pad.

I remember using dampened paper on the Japanese Woodblock Printing course back in March 2012 with Peter Brown.

I am looking back through some old folders and find the print I made of a tree. I remember the time and effort we put into the registration for this two colour print. I liked my first print of the green tree but lost all sense of understanding two colour printing by the time I came to making the second print. The registration was fine but the image just didn't work. I knew what I wanted to achieve in my head but the result was nothing like it. I can't remember the name of this paper but it's a lovely texture. I contact Peter Brown to find out what paper we used for to print on the course. He's happy to hear I have found my way back to the wood and reminds me the paper we were using was Japanese Hosho paper. This paper is tough but smooth and is very popular. Intaglio sell it by the pad. I add it to the list.

Netsuke - The Hare with the Amber Eyes

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My first encounter with Japanese netsuke is Edmund De Waal's book 'The Hare with the Amber Eyes.' A photograph of the white hare sits with its head turned and one amber eye stares out from the cover of the book. It is an intriguing story of Edmund's family, the collection of 246 netsuke being passed down through the generations from Charles Ephrussi in Paris during the impressionists, to Emmy von Ephrussi in Vienna during the second world war, Edmund's Great Uncle Iggie in Japan and finally to Edmund in England where Edmund currently lives with his family.

I am fascinated with these little objects and Edmund's story. I sketch a light bulb in my notebook. Next to the lightbulb I write 'Japanese woodblock prints in miniature - mini prints on Hosho paper.' I search for Edmund's website and discover a gallery of 29 beautifully carved netsuke.