Caren Loebel-Fried: Artist. Illustrator. Author.
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Block printing has roots in many cultures. In Hawai’i, ‘ohe kapala (bamboo stamping) was a form of block printing used to decorate bark cloth (kapa). I have personal roots in this amazing historic art form. When I was a child, I spent summer days at the beach with my mother while she carved woodcuts. I loved watching her strong hands work the tools, carving the block, the image slowly revealed. I remember playing with the curly strands of wood carved from the block, left in the sand.

My own block carving methods have developed mostly through experimentation, but I have my mother to call on for her expertise.

I start by researching my subject. I include elements in the design that depict the subject within it's environment. The drawing takes a while to complete, and most decisions about the details of the piece are made during this phase. Once my drawing is finished, I transfer it to the block and carve away everything but the blacks lines.

Pulling the first print is always exciting. First, I roll ink evenly on the block’s surface, making sure to ink the entire surface.

Then, I carefully lay paper on the inked block.

I rub the entire surface with my baren, so the ink is now transferred onto the paper.

I slowly lift the paper from the block, “pulling” my print. The image is black line art. Once the ink dries, I can add color.


All artwork and text on these pages Copyright © 2002-2022 Caren Loebel-Fried. All rights reserved.