Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beginning of the Flags

For years I've intended to carve blocks and make prayer flags for the garden.  And every year the project has played second fiddle to everything else.  Finally, I am off to a well intended beginning and, more or less, holding my breath that this time prayer flags will actually materialize.  For anyone not familiar with prayer flags they are a part of Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhist culture.  The flags are each dedicated to a particular element or virtue and as they flutter in the wind those wishes are carried on the air.  For a more detailed explanation (and probably more accurate, although I am going with the belief I just stated ,try this link.  I have never been one to be side-tracked by facts.)

My thought is to carve a border block which can be used for each individual print.  After many drawings and ideas I finally came up with a simple leaf and berry design with spirals in each corner. Traditionally the flags have a different image in each corner, but at our house we do spirals.

To get the image onto the block I scanned it first into the computer and then printed it out on the transfer paper sold by McClain's. Working quickly so the ink doesn't dry it is a simple matter of placing the transfer paper face down onto the block and burnishing it lightly with a baren.  Voila, the image is on the block!  Generally, with other transfer techniques, I like to tint the block with Sumi Ink, but if I had done that using the transfer paper obviously I would never be able to see it and I have enough trouble seeing things without interference. (Notice the magnifier hanging on the Hori-dai  which I learned about from my good friend Graham Scholes.)

A closer look at the quality of the transfer on a cherry block:

And so, tomorrow the carving commences!  Once I get to working on a project and the knife actually hits the wood I am committed to the project.  This block will be pretty easy - it will be the central images that will require most of the work.

1 comment:

bdswagger said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your prayer flags. This is something I would like to do too, when I have a forever home. Someday...