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Part Four: The finished print.

It hasn't been trimmed yet (actually it's still wet!), but here's a snapshot of the finished print. I think it has turned out quite well. Compared to the original, it's quite a bit 'bright' and 'hard', but the only thing that will help that is the passage of time ... I think about a hundred years or so should do it ...

I've sometimes considered artificially aging my prints, tinting the paper to give it a brownish tone, or even actually 'beating' the paper to give it the softness that comes when the sizing has 'flown away' with the passage of time, but I've resisted doing such things. They might help enjoyment of the print now, but they would make it worse at some point down the road. I think it's better just to wait ... My grandchildren will enjoy it more than I can!

Here's a close-up ... the white 'clouds' are untouched paper. You can see just how much pressure was used on the baren. The paper in the deep red area has been almost completely flattened. As time goes by, it will recover somewhat, but the embossing effect will never disappear completely.

Embossing like this is one of the hallmarks of Edo-era surimono. An exceptionally thick paper was usually used (even thicker than the one I'm using here), and the prints really do become three dimensional objects.

I sometimes joke with interviewers and describe myself as a sculptor, not a printmaker, and I'm only half kidding!

This was a tough part - a 'graduated' embossing. Too much pressure when printing the faint background sky colour would have killed the embossing of the lettering. But too little would have meant that the clouds didn't stand out clearly ...

So here she is. I'd really like to show you some close-up detail of the whole thing, so I've prepared a higher resolution scan (about 200 Kb) if you've got the patience to download it ...

Thanks for following me through this process. I hope you've enjoyed watching over my shoulder while I made this print. Even after nearly twenty years of doing this, I still get a kick out of making a pile of these things!

And now it's time for me to get started on the first print in the new 'Surimono Albums' series - an image from the Hokusai Manga.

Note (added a few years later): For those who are interested, this print is now available from my Mokuhankan publishing venture.

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