My newly found muscles in my right arm are aching from all the cutting but by the end of the second day the design is cut and is ready for its first inking. See yesterday’s post for details
But now I must digress – back to my fascination with exploring the properties of paper. In the West, in printmaking we soak paper in a bath of water, then put it between layers of blotting paper and roll over it with a massive roller to remove the excess moisture. This takes a lot of space, a lot of blotting paper and huge roller.
The Japanese wet newspaper and interleave their paper in among the pages and it gets wet by capillary action and this takes considerably less space, and economy of space is very important in Japan.
The newspaper (new smaller size) must be at least ten days old and ink will not come off it onto your pristine paper. The brush for wetting the paper is at least 8cm wide and you can see Laura’s in the top photo. Keep the newspaper folded like a book and after you have wet every 4th sheet liberally you close the whole paper, put it into a giant sleeve made from a cheap shower curtain and weight it with a large wooden board. After half an hour the paper will be evenly wet throughout, and you can interleave your printing paper into every third page. Keep this pack next to you and take each sheet out as you need it to print, then put it back after printing (the watercolour will not be affected) so that it doesn’t buckle by drying. Later when you have done all the layers of colour, dry the prints under pressure.
Laura’s tried and tested Western paper for printing is Fabriano Acadaemia 200gsm and wallpaper lining for proofs. The Japanese papers are very lovely but very pricey!