japanese mythology

Carving out 7 minutes of Time

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DEER - A short film 

Recently I made a print of a deer. In my last post I showed a brief glimpse of the process through images and talked about the inspiration behind the print. What I forgot to mention was that before I started carving the woodblock, I set up my tripod and mobile phone, and recorded the process.  

So here's a short film (speeded up into 7 mins) following the process of carving the woodblock from start to finish accompanied by music and a poem by John Drinkwater.

I am aware that we are bombarded with SO much information these days and 7 minutes of carving a piece of wood may just be too painfully long to endure, but I like to think it might be worth ‘carving' out a little piece of time to watch this film for seven moments of tranquility.

I hope you enjoy it. 

Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition 2017

Year of the Cockerel 酉

In May I applied to the Awagami International Miniature Print Exhibition 2017. I submitted two prints. 'Monkey Wearing Short Gown' celebrating the year of the Monkey, 2016. To celebrate the year 2017, I carved a cockerel of a netsuke from The British Museum. I usually make a visit to a museum or gallery to make a sketch of the original netsuke but as I was eager to get the prints to Awagami Factory. I searched The British Museum’s online collection and found a photograph of a netsuke cockerel carved by Yoshinaga around the late 18th C. The original netsuke is made from wood with eyes inlaid in dark horn. 

Carving the block and printing the cockerel

酉     とり     tori



I carved the cockerel from Japanese magnolia wood to print an edition of 75. Both prints, the cockerel and the monkey, were posted to Awagami Factory. The prints were received and will be on display at the Awagami’s Hall of Awa Japanese Handmade Paper Museum for their 2017 exhibition - October 7th - 29th October. 

"The exhibition will feature a total of 1,347 miniprints submitted from 1,010 artists hailing from 54 countries.” A.I.M.P.E

"In Japan, since the Edo Period, the Tori no ichi, a market fair  has been held on the Days of the Rooster in November (to welcome the New Year) at various Otori-jinja shrines found in all parts of Japan. This fair is sometimes called by the familiar name of Otori-sama. The patron deity of good fortune and successful business is enshrined at Otori-jinja shrines. Open-air stalls are set up selling among other things, kumade rakes (symbolic of the rooster’s feet)  for ‘raking in wealth and good fortune.’This good-luck rake is made of bamboo and is decorated with masks and koban (old gold coins)."

Find out more about cockerel / rooster symbolism at: Japanese Mythology and Folklore