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.
Pulling the first print is always exciting. First, I roll ink evenly on the block’s surface, making sure to ink the entire surface.
I rub the
entire surface with my baren, so the ink is now transferred onto the paper.