Saturday, December 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: Soar (Between Breaths) Woodblock Printing


(Please click image to enlarge and view)

Illustration Friday Theme: Soar
Title: Between Breaths
Artist: Debra Woolard Bender
Medium: Woodblock Print with Gigi font added digitally to scanned image
Materials: Rough exterior plywood siding; Speedball water-based ink; torinoko paper; hand-rubbed with bamboo baren
Category: Naive

tonight when dreaming
may I turn into a bird
nameless and homeless
in my solitary flight
I'll forget I have no wings


DW Bender
untitled tanka, 5/21/01

Dreams of flying and floating, other than swimming underwater, may be the closest we get the the sensation of flight. No doubt dreaming, whether sleeping dreams, waking dreams or those desires we call dreams, along with the gifts of creativity and imagination, all issue from the same deep well. Here is where we, unfettered, soar.

And here is my first recent woodblock or woodcut attempt, paired with and illustrating one of my tanka, a Japanese genre poem. (Jazmin, hope you stop by - yep, I did a woodblock!) I actually cut and printed this just a little before Christmas. When Illustration Friday announced "Soar" as the topic for this week, I was happy to use this image, the first artist's proof pulled from the block. The last three times I've cut and printed woodblocks were... #'s 1 & 2: around 1967 in high school art class... and #3: about 1977 in a community college printmaking course. So figure this 4th piece is done in 2007...40 years from the first and second ones and 30 years from the third. How'd THAT happen?! Time, pfft. Meh.

The wood used was the backside of a small, single block ripped from discarded and very rough exterior grade plywood paneling found in one of Grandma's infamous dumpster dives. It is a single-color print with a primitive or naive style design. The image was printed with Speedball water-based ink. I'll continue with some simple woodcut prints, but am looking forward to doing multiple block, varied color and Japanese technique moku hanga in the coming year. The poem's font is "Gigi," added digitally to the scanned image for the IF entry.

Through internet, email and Jane Reichhold's Tanka group at YahooGroups, in 2001, this tanka became the introductory poem for "Between Breaths," a collaborative, or symbiotic tanka sequence with fellow poet, hortensia anderson. Later, the poem was published in Elizabeth St Jacques' online magazine, Poetry In The Light. The original posting of the (untitled) tanka ("tonight when dreaming") can be found here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tanka/message/4522
while the published collaborative sequence of the 8 tanka, 4 by each poet, can be found on this page:
http://members.tripod.com/~Startag/BetweenBreaths.html

20 comments:

Leah said...

gorgeous, gorgeous work!! loved hearing your explanations too!

hatrabbit said...

Beautiful work, I like the rough texture of the woodblock print, the tanka was great too.

cheers,
dave

Barbara Hagerty said...

Beautiful print and beautiful poetry!

Annie B said...

Beautiful. I love the roughness of the wood and the freedom of your cuts.

glumnmum said...

I love your poetry - sadly the images don't get past my fire wall, so I can only see one of your illustrations. thank you for your kind notes on my work. kate

estherc said...

so beautiful, have a great New Year!

Nicole Florian said...

Very nice illustration of your tanka!

pixo said...

I also love the naive art form, as they feel like they are coming directly from the heart. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your very thoughtful comments. All the Best for 2008.

The Unknown said...

Love your art and your post.
Happy New Year.
love

Q. said...

Beautiful approach. Perfect technique!

Ellen Byrne said...

gorgeous, gorgeou, gorgeous! i love your submission for horizon, too! fabulous stuff!

Lukas said...

Jean Dubuffet would be proud. Great piece!

Elin said...

Very nice.

FRANK M HANSEN said...

Wow! Love this piece. Great technique, design and composition. Peaceful and beautiful. Thank you for the nice compliments on my Blog as well.

PaMdora said...

lovely image and story!

Paper Pictures said...

This is a great print! It reminds me of Munakata Shiko, my favorite woodcut artist. Very, very nice!

Ellen Shipley said...

Lovely. What fun to soar. 8-]

Anonymous said...

It is very beautiful.

http://rasgo.wordpress.com

Carmen SaldaƱa said...

It´s wonderful, i love this technique, full of power. Very expressive.

Debi Bender said...

Thank you, leah, hatrabbit, barbara, annie, glumnmum, esther, nicole, pixo, the unknown, q, ellen, frank, pamdora, paper pictures, ellen, anonymous rasgo and carmen. Wow, I feel blessed having so many comments and visits to this post. I'm glad eveyone likes the art and the poetry, and it encourages me to do more woodblock printmaking.