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Once again we had a great time in Kyoto and on our day trips to Fukui and Shiga. This year we had not one but two typhoons arrive! The rain dampened out clothes but not our spirits as we got out and about and enjoyed our planned activities.

Sunday 22nd

Arrival in Japan & Kyoto

Most of us arrived in the morning and made our way to Kyoto and were lucky to catch the last day of Richard Steiner's solo exhibition in downtown Kyoto. A second trip to the airport and back to Kyoto as typhoon 21 intensified. Luckily we made it back - I heard that trains were stopped in the evening!

Monday 23rd

Gion Art street Ukiyo-e galleries, Chion-in temple area, Sannenzaka Museum, Kiyomizudera, Shopping, Gion Area Temples and shops, Yasaka Shrine

The rain gradually cleared during the day and we had a lovely walk to Kiyomizudera, where we encountered the big crowds of this famous attraction. Some of us drank from the sacred spring, which the name of this temple comes from, giving us longer life! Afterwards, making our way downtown we tried okonomiyaki for dinner!

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Tuesday 24th

Visit to Shoichi Kitamura Studio, Yamashina, Daigo-ji Temple Yamashina

We had a fascinating and informative visit to Kitamura san's home studio and afterwards enjoyed the peace and tranquility of Daigo-ji. No big crowds and shopping madness here. In the evening we went to Kyoto station for dinner, then enjoyed the spectacular building and amazing night time view of Kyoto from the Skywalk.

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Wednesday 25th

Day trip to Echizen no washi sato (Paper making Village)

We took the train to Fukui prefecture to Echizen washi village where we saw papermaking, talked at lenght to the craftsmen, visited the paper museum and also walked to Okami-jinja - and amazing shrine in the mountain village. Again - lovely peace and quiet enjoying the rustic atmosphere.

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Thursday 26th

Our Mokuhanga workshop with Richard Steiner started and everyone got busy with their projects!

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Friday 27th

Our Mokuhanga workshop continued and with Richard's expert tuition everone made progress. Afterwards we visited a small traditional clothes shop where some of us bought samue - traditional craftsperson's clothes in japan. The shop owner was so happy to help everyone!

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Saturday 28th

Teramachi-dori Shopping precinct, Art / Paper shops, Unsodo Mokuhanga publishers

Starting with Kyoto Shibori Museum we visited various Art supply shops, Ukiyo-e shops, stopped at some interesting cafe's and finished with a lovely kaitenzushi (Sushi train) dinner!

The rain was starting to fall for Typhoon 21 - only one week after the previous one!

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Sunday 29th

Kawaii Kanjiro's House, Kyoto Ceramics Centre, Kyoto Museum

The rain from Typhoon 22 continued nearly all day, changing our plans a little. We went to the fantastic Kawai Kanjiro museum, which is his old home, then to the newlt opened Kyoto Ukiyo-e Museum where we could see Hiroshige's 36 Views of the Tokkaido, as well as some beautiful old Hokusai prints. Afterwards we visited Nishiki-dori to see and experience the incredible array of food shops there.

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Monday 30th

Mokuhanga Workshop with Richard Steiner - Last day with Richard. Beforehand we made an early morning visit to Shimogamo Shrine.

Nice mokuhanga!

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Tuesday 31st

We took a trip to Shiga prefecture to visit Sagawa Art Museum, which had an awesome exhibition of "10 Masters of Ukiyo-e" with excellent examples of the most famous artists of that time, such as Utamaro, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai, Hiroshige etc. The museum itself is amazing and again it was nice to visit normal, everyday Japan

 Afterwards we visited Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine and caught a perfect sunset view of Kyoto to end the last day.

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Wednesday 1st

In the morning we left for Kansai Airport and return to Australia, or to travel elsewhere in Japan.

What is Mokuhanga?

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Detail of traditional print "Haru Nano Higashi Genji" by Kunichika Toyohara

 

Mokuhanga is the traditional water based printing technique, originating in China and perfected in Japan.

A print is created through design, carving blocks for each colour, then printing each colour successively until the print edition is completed.

 

Mokuhanga is the Japanese word for wood block print. The Japanese characters 木版画 are 木 wood, 版 block and 画 picture.

 

In Japan its meaning is the print itself, but in general contemporary use it means both the print and the technique. Mokuhanga is growing in popularity worldwide as learning becomes more accessible to people outside of Japan.

 
 

 

Kunisada Printmaking tripty

 

 

 

Mokuhanga is chemical free, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, uses relatively simple hand tools and equipment and requires little space to produce beautiful work. The natural beauty of the materials - wood, pigment and hand-made paper are all retained and enhance each other. A great choice for Artists or any creative person!

 

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Kyoto Mokuhanga & Tokyo Ukiyo-e Tours

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 Find out more about these exciting, small-scale and unique tours

Tokyo & Nagano Brochure (PDF)

Kyoto Mokuhanga Brochure (PDF)

Students Login Here

Looking for the Kyoto School?

Are you looking for Richard Steiner's Kyoto International Mokuhanga School?

Find it here:Kyoto School Website

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you running classes at later dates?

Yes! Our aim is to make Mokuhanga popular and accessible in Australia, so we would like to run as many courses as we can. This means repeating workshops and weekly courses. If you can't make an already scheduled weekend or weekly time, keep in touch by email, or keep watch on the website for upcoming courses as they are announced.

Do I have to make a Japanese style print?

No - you can make any style of image you prefer! Although the technique is "Traditional Japanese", your image can be anything you like, from realistic to abstract, single colour to multi colour..

 

The technique and medium lends itself to certain kinds of images - simplified imagery with clear blocks of colour is easiest to achieve for the beginner and fine lines and complicated combinations is better for the more experienced mokuhanga artist.

 

For your first print we will stress the importance of starting simply, as it is easy to become frustrated with a complicated piece in the beginning as you are just coming to terms with carving and printing.

 

 

I have some lino tools, are they OK to use?

Yes and er... no, it depends on the quality of the tools. You can carve with any tools that are sharp enough, and the Shina plywood we supply is relatively soft and easy to carve. With the cheapest tools it is not possible to get a sharp edge and you will soon become frustrated with these. It is better to use tools of higher quality - you will get better results, carving will be easier and more enjoyable, and you will progress quicker.

 

By all means bring the tools you have to a course and we can look at them and give our opinion. In course you can trial the student sets we sell and see if they are suitable for you.

 

 

My hands are not strong, can I carve the wood?

Some older people with weak hands or people with physical problems (such as RSI) find the intensive carving work difficult. If you are not used to using your hands, a weekend workshop can leave your hands tired / sore from holding and pushing the chisels.

 

If you think it is a problem you will need more time and less pressure to complete the carving and a weekly workshop might be more suited for you. The Shina plywood is relatively soft and with care you can carve a simple project. In the workshop we also have some time to assist your carving.

 

In the end it is your decision if you would like to try.

Will it take long to become good at Mokuhanga?

How long... well it depends how much you practice like every kind of skill. You could do one course to get the basics and then practice on your own, continuing to make your own mokuhanga, or you could do several courses and move on to more advanced levels. In reality it will take some time to fully grasp the fundamentals, become competent and consistent. Also you may have an existing skill set that you can apply - printmaking skills, art skills with other media, woodworking skills..

 

So, sorry there is no easy answer.

 

If you have never printed before it is realistic to aim for a simple, finished print from one course, but you will then need further practice or courses to develop the skills you need to make multi-colour prints with quality printing and registration and few or no errors.