I’ve been in Japan now for 3 weeks, and so far it’s been fantastic! I started my trip with a couple of days in Tokyo being a tourist, then made my way to the Mi-Lab residence in Fujikawaguchiko to start the artist residency learning ‘Mokuhanga’ (Japanese woodblock printing).
The residence is in a really beautiful spot – near Lake Kawaguchi, overlooked by Mount Fuji (Fujisan!). It’s been cloudy for the last couple of days so he’s been hiding, but when he does pop up it’s as if out of nowhere…turn a corner and suddenly there he is!
The first week was very intensive, being taught all the basics of the Mokuhanga technique by Chihiro Taki – a Japanese printmaker who makes the most beautiful woodblock prints. (I recommend checking out her website: http://www.chihirotaki.com)
To start off we all did a little presentation about ourselves and our work, which was an opportunity to get an insight into each other’s art practice, and an understanding of why we were all there. Taki San then presented some of her work, and seeing her prints in the flesh really blew us all away – such subtle colours and textures. She then gave us a brief history of woodblock printing, and we got straight on with the technical stuff – covering ‘Iruwake’ (colour separation), the ‘kento’ registration system (the best, simplest and easiest way the register prints!), and introducing us to the tools we would be using to carve the plywood blocks – the ‘Hangi-toh’ knife, the ‘Maru-toh’ gouge, and the ‘Kento-nomi’ knife.
Taki San then went on to demonstrate the printing process. The block is inked up with watercolour or guache paints, using ‘Maru-bake’ and ‘Te-bake’ brushes, along with ‘Nori’ (rice paste- very important in the process). The damp paper is placed on the block, (prepared the day before), and a ‘baren’ is used to apply pressure on the back to transfer the ink to the paper. (This mainly happens through absorption – the fibres of the kozo paper ‘drinking’ up the ink from the block.) She also showed us the different effects you can get if you alter the amount of ink, water, nori and pressure used – including ‘gomazuri’ (sesame effect), ‘mokumizuri’ (wood grain effect), and ‘bokashi’ (gradient).
Phew! It’s a lot to take in, but so much fun and a it’s so exciting to be learning something which is so different from the kind of printmaking I am used to. Being here has made me realise that I haven’t had this much time dedicated to learning and creating work since university – 13 years ago!
This is the first post I’ve managed to write since being here, as I’ve been trying to spend as much of my time as possible just sitting at my desk and making….but I will try to post again soon, as It’s a good way of reviewing what I’ve learned.
I’ll leave you with a few images from the last few weeks. Thanks for reading 🙂
P.s. My apologies if I’ve spelled an or the Japanese words wrong!
This Spring I will be spending 5 weeks in Japan learning the traditional art of Japanese Woodblock Printing! I will be undertaking a five week residency in learning ‘Mokuhanga’ – the art of Japanese water-based woodblock Printing – at the Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory (Mi-LAB), Lake Kawaguchi, Japan. The residency runs from 22nd April – 26th May 2018, and is designed to provide extensive knowledge of Mokuhanga and its techniques to international artists, printmakers and teachers of printmaking, as well as to enable them to make use of traditional tools and materials. I can’t wait!
I’ve set up a crowdfunder campaign (www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kathryn-desforges), and any money I raise will go towards the remainder of the residency fee and associated costs, including travel, accommodation, materials, and general subsistence costs.
There’s a range of rewards available if you pledge, including sets of cards, original art prints, demonstrations and 1-1 tuition. I’d be mega grateful for your support!
Join me at The Hepworth Print Fair
Fri 2nd – Sun 4th March 2018, 10 – 5
Private view Thursday 1st March, 6 – 8pm
Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW
T: +44 (0)1924 247360
E: email@example.comI’m really excited to have a stand at this year’s Hepworth Print Fair. I’ll be showing a selection of recent prints and artist books, along with a new range of greeting cards, available exclusively at the print fair, and afterwards through my Etsy shop. (Sneak Peak HERE). If you haven’t been before I highly recommend it, it’s a great atmosphere and an excellent place to buy original prints and gifts. Hope to see you there!
New Light Prize Exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery
Exhibition continues until 2 June 2018
Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 4pm
Princess Alexandra Walk, Huddersfield, HD1 2SU
Free EntryMy ‘Peak’ etching starts it’s tour around the UK with the New Light Prize Exhibition, first stop Huddersfield Art Gallery!
It is a chance to see some of the North’s finest artists in one of the North’s finest galleries. From the hyperreal to the purely abstract, from printmaking to sculpture, this high-profile open exhibition celebrates contemporary artists from all corners of the North of England, including the winner of the £10,000 Valeria Sykes Award.
All works will be for sale.
Click Here for Exhibition Catalogue
I’m really excited to be showing some new litho work in this group show at Tarpey Gallery in October. The common link is the lithography fellowship at Leicester Print Workshop, which was for me a transformative experience.
The work I’ll be showing is all based on time spent lurking around Canadian woodland – noticing, observing, reflecting, and being present.
There will be some fantastic work on show, highlighting the creative possibilities of lithography.
More info on Tarpey Gallery website: http://tarpeygallery.com/exhibition/a-study-in-stone/
I’m having a January sale! To celebrate the New Year you can get 25% off all items in my Etsy shop until 31st January. There are a few colourful collages, prints and artist books in there to brighten up your winter! Head over to my Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/kathryndesforges) and use the code HAPPYJANUARY25 at the checkout. Happy January all!
An exhibition of new drawings and lithographs by Kathryn Desforges
Saturday 7 June – Saturday 26 July
PREVIEW – Friday 6 June, 6 – 8pm – All welcome, FREE
ARTIST TALK – Thursday 10 July, 6 – 8pm – All welcome, FREE
Courses and workshops / artist talks / one-to-one tuition all available by arrangement
West Yorkshire Print Workshop
75A Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, WF14 8AT
Gallery open Mon – Fri 10.30am – 6pm / Saturday 10.30am – 3pm
Wow, it’s been a very busy few months! I’m really pleased to say that my exhibition ‘Momentary Permanence’ is now up in the gallery at West Yorkshire Print Workshop, and looking great! It runs until 26th July, info above.
The exhibition features drawings, lithographs, artist books and also some film footage.
I’m doing an artist talk tomorrow, Thursday 10th July, 6 – 8pm, to accompany the exhibition. Come and hear me ramble on about my journey over the past 18 months learning a new technique and how I’ve applied it to create the work in the exhibition. I will also touch on my approach to printmaking in general, the importance of the making process in my practice, my method of working and inspiration, and possibly more in between! All welcome.
There will also be a screening of ‘Kate Desforges – Stone Lithography’ – a beautiful short film by Leicester-based filmmaker Bill Newsinger which illustrates the lithography process.
Here are a few (most excellent) shots of the exhibition and set-up, taken by the talented Mr. Fabian Matthias Osborne. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out, I really couldn’t have done it without you. Now that I’ve got a bit more free time I really should get blogging again! So more posts soon 🙂
I’ve spent some time in the studio at Leicester Print Workshop recently, taking photographs for a basic step-by-step guide to stone lithography. While the photos were meant to be used as still images to illustrate the process, I realised they might look good put together as a little animation sequence – so here it is!