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Learn The Beautiful Art of Japanese Printmaking
Discover New Materials and Methods - Traditional and Contemporary
Extend Your Creative Potential
Study at Your Own Pace - Step by Step on Your Own Project
Develop Your Skills with Expert Tutition
Be Inspired by Masters of the Past and Teachers and Artists of the Present
Choose Courses that Suit Your Schedule
Connect with Japanese Art and Culture

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 Tour

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Find out more about this exciting, small-scale and unique tour

Download 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.