Woodcut Printmaking Workshop, GGF 2/1– registration closed

Practice Center
Date / Time
February 1, 2020 / 10:00am - 5:00pm
Event Type
Workshops and Retreats

In Stillwater Hall

A Rare Workshop with Local Artist Tom Killion

During this workshop we will engage in the time-honored Zen artistic tradition of block carving. Through the activity of carving images into wood,as in the many other Zen inspired art forms such as Tea Ceremony, calligraphy,and Noh Theater, the artist-participants come to fully inhabit these activities through focused attention of their own bodies, minds and hearts. Tom Killion will instruct students in his Japanese-style woodcut printmaking techniques in a one-day workshop. First, students will be introduced to the Japanese key-block technique for making multi-color block prints. Killion will discuss the design and creation of effective images, the use and maintenance of Japanese carving tools, the choice of block materials, and Japanese handmade papers and traditional inking techniques. He will also briefly discuss his own modified key-block technique using oil-based inks. Students will have an opportunity to begin their own single-block woodcut print, and receive basic instruction in carving techniques, but there may not be time in the workshop to complete a finished print. Nonetheless, we will proof everyone's blocks at the end of class with water-based ink.

What You Need to Bring to Class:

1) A SKETCH of a possible woodcut image you'd like to begin, NO LARGER than 6x8 (4x6 preferable), either vertical or horizontal. The less experience you have, the simpler you need to keep the image. Remember, the hardest lines to make in a woodblock are thin black lines with white space around them; the simplest are white lines on a black field.

2) Soft pencils; ballpoint pens; ruler (metal); scissors or xacto knife, etc.; tape; drawing paper; other things you might need to design and transfer an image (Tom will have some extras of all these but not enough for everyone).

3) Carving TOOLS. You must provide your own if you want to work on anything in class. Tom recommends you bring these tools, which may be purchased from McClain's Printmaking Supplies, at (800) 832-4264 or www.imcclains.com:

4.5 mm U-gouge, Josei Moku Hanga To "superior quality" maru-to
2 mm U-gouge, Josei M.H.T. "superior quality" maru-to
3 mm V-gouge, Josei M.H.T. "superior quality" sankaku-to

Tom will bring some larger U-gouges the class can share for "clearing" large areas, and some non-skid rubber mats and bench-hooks for keeping the block from slipping.

Notes about Tools:

  • Tom recommends the "professional grade" (Josei) tools because they can be sharpened and will last. If you are on a tight budget you can get the "student grade" (standard) tools, but they are not as good. The best are the Futatsu Wari tools (on p. 16 of new catalogue)—but you might want to see how far your interest in woodcut printmaking will take you before investing in them. You can buy similar tools to the "standard grade" at Japanese tool shops in the Bay Area, but they do not have the quality or selection of McClain's.
  • Tom is recommending you buy the tools he uses because this is the technique he can teach you. If you want to try the 'traditional' Japanese way of carving you will need to get a diagonal-bladed chisel or "knife," Sho-To, which is the primary tool in Japanese-style draw-knife carving. Tom don't use this, however, nor does he often use the straight "chisel," Hira-To, either.
  • Other tools you will want in the future: Tom will provide some baren rubbing tools for you to proof your blocks with (if you get that far)—you may want to get the inexpensive "standard quality" baren from McClain's to use at home. Tom will provide a selection of inks for you to try, as well as brushes and brayers to look at and (if you get that far) experiment with. Tom recommends that you get a McClain's catalogue so you can see what is available and then make your purchases of these items after the class. Also highly recommended is Robert McClain's Moku Hanga Primer which can be purchased from their catalogue—it is a good introduction to the traditional Japanese printmaking technique.

4) A check or cash for $30 to Tom Killion to cover the materials he will bring for your use, which are the following:

  1. Japanese kozo paper for printing; as well as tracing paper and proofing paper.
  2. Water-based ink as well as brayers for proofing at end of class. Also, clean-up materials.
  3. Two 6x8 "All Shina" 5-ply woodblocks for you to work on in class and after (2 per student).
  4. To share: bench-hooks, clearing tools, sharpening stones, stropping leather, and ancillary materials for carving and printing.

It will be a long day if we want to cover everything; please arrive by 10 am sharp and bring a bag lunch.

Please contact Tom at tkillion@got.net with any questions.

Fee Information

Fees: $225; $215 current SFZC members; $205 limited income.

  • Please bring an additional $30 (check or cash) payable to Tom Killion for materials.
  • Please bring a bag lunch.
Registration Information

To Register:

Registration closed as of November 19, 2019

Or call the Green Gulch Farm main office at  415.383.3134 or the SFZC Reservations Office at 888.743.9362 or 415.475.9362. Or fill out this online form to have the Reservations Office contact you by phone or email to assist your registration.

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