This series of seven haiku allowed me to try two new avenues at once: letterpress printing and incorporating poetry into print work. The haiku are written in English and include some Icelandic and Japanese words, reflecting my individual experience of living in Seyðisfjörður. The intention is for each poem to create fleeting visual images in the mind of the reader, and for the haiku to collectively express my first feelings of Iceland.
My favourite thing I achieved during the Printing Matter residency was printing a cod! I’ve been interested in trying gyotaku 魚拓, Japanese nature printing. I plan to try this again in Japan, but when I do that I may be influenced by specific methods and traditions. So this was a great opportunity for me to try my own freestyle fish printing first. My experimentation and engagement with the local fish factory was encouraged. I went to the local fish factory and requested a full fish to print and a piece to cook. The woman working there kindly gave me both for free, without many words exchanged. Later, during the exhibition some staff from the factory were interested to see their catch printed. After the show I donated a print to the factory and some goodies from Canada.
I printed multiple book pages on one stone using a few different techniques. Various lines and forms to convey mountains were created with tusche toothbrush splashes, gum arabic stopout and some Dieter Roth-inspired double-handed drawing. Followed by double-handed etching of course!
Earlier this year, for three weeks in March 2019, I lived in a small town on the Eastern coast of Iceland called Seyðisfjörður to participate in an artist residency at Skaftfell Centre for Visual Art. The Printing Matter Residency was an opportunity to work alongside international and local artists to create works on paper, ultimately culminating in artist books and a group exhibition in the local Technical Museum.
This was the first image I printed during the residency. What I consider to be a ‘pure’ litho: just straight crayon drawing. This is one tier of the majestic Hengifoss waterfall that I hiked to with another resident on my first day in Iceland. I think it ended up looking like an illustration that might be found in a book of Nordic fairy tales…
In preparation for our wedding at the end of September 2018, I created a new series of seven bear prints. Each table was marked by a different type of bear, and guests were given a print as a symbol of gratitude for celebrating our special day with us. Bears are a symbol of both of our birthplaces, Canada and Hokkaido, Japan.
American Black Bear. Photography by Vai Yu Law.
What the Fukunishi!?
A couple months ago, local gallery and printshop Graven Feather put out a call for submissions for the wonderfully titled “What the Fukunishi!?” show, where participants were invited to use fukunishi washi however they’d like, to create works to exhibit in a group show.
This paper comes in 3 colours: Nemu (yellow), Sakura (pink), Akebi (grey). I was able to integrate every colour into each of my two pieces, Hira Hira and Pika Pika. My pieces were made by combining fukunishi printed with two colour layers of pink litho ink, with bare fukunishi sheets and some tengu-jo. I used some metallic pigment on the printed sheets which I purchased at PIGMENT in Tokyo. I added some origami pleated to show the reflective qualities of the pigment and try to add more dimension to the papers. I aimed to create pieces that recall noren or washi curtains.
Like most of the washi I print on, I was introduced to this paper at The Japanese Paper Place. There I learned that it’s a paper that is specifically made for lithography, as requested by David Lynch. The fibres are from the Phillipines, and somehow it feels like they aren’t as long as traditional washi long fibres. After printing my smaller mikan prints on K-Salago, I decided to commit to this as my paper of choice for 4 larger colour lithos I would make for my prints about my beloved Shikoku.
The paper is incredibly smooth, with beautiful deckle edges. It picks up detail very well from litho stones, and I really love the warmth of the colour. The only issue I had with it was that it really doesn’t take water well. If it gets wet, it can immediately start to pill. I made sure my stones were inked up yet totally dry before printing.
Began incorporating chine colle techniques into my lithographs a couple years ago. I've tried adhering tengu-jo tissues to prints using an etching press, by hand, then using a lithograph press. It's been a bit tricky getting the yamato nori paste consistency correct, but I've really enjoyed the results. These are some leafy shapes that were added to my Gaku Ajisai (hydrangea) prints last year.