A New Series of Wood Block Prints

Garden book iron fish print
I have been sidetracked from breaking down old clock parts. A newly landscaped front yard has me thinking about documenting the details of the space via wood blocks and perhaps some writing for a limited edition of books. Working from the photos I took over the last month as the work progressed, I selected some of the more interesting angles and subjects. Next I altered those images to first black and white and then outlines to be redrawn with tracing paper and simplified to transfer to the blocks.

My wood of choice is poplar trimmed to six inches wide and four feet long. I pick the clearest (no knots) and straightest boards to bring home where they are cut to size. This four foot board yielded nine wood blocks measuring five and one half by five inches that I have sanded to make them easier to handle and accept the drawing transfers.

What looks good on a drawing may not necessarily work with the grain of the wood, so continuing alterations are constantly being made. It took making only three prints with the block on Thai kozo paper with re-carving where needed to get the results I wanted. And what I want is a simplistic documentation of the mood of a Japanese influenced garden. Here is the first in the series…three rusty iron carp lanterns poised by the pond’s waterfall near the front door.

Note: The piece of wood that I burnished the prints with is a wooden shoe mold found in an antique shop for five dollars. Once I picked it up and held it in my hand, I needed to own it. I have sanded, oiled and waxed this new tool that is engraved with, “Foot Form Patented.” Perhaps it was a child’s size shoe mold in an earlier life. While in my possession it will be the wood block burnishing tool.