Ukiyo-e Heroes - woodblock production update!
[Update from Dave in Tokyo ...]
It's past time to bring you an update on how the woodblock print production is coming along. The autumn season has been staggeringly busy in our Asakusa shop, with visitors arriving from all over the world, many of them coming specifically to see the Ukiyo-e Heroes prints!
During this campaign, we announced six new woodblocks to be made, and here is where we have got to ...
1) The print that appeared in our documentary film 'Art of the Game', titled 'A Young Man Shakes Heaven' is the first of the six out of the gate, and is now shipping!
What you see in the photo is the initial batch from our printing benches; these have already been shipped over to Jed, for him to inspect, sign and seal. He'll then do the shipping to the Kickstarter backers from there.
2) The first of the new 'Boss Fight' designs, the one known as 'A Trial of Strength' has just completed trial printing, and the initial edition is under way. Here are a few photos of our young printer Natsuki Suga and her workspace:
The eight blocks you see there are actually carved on both faces ... 18 in all! It's going to take here a couple of weeks to get the prints done, and they'll then be sent over to Jed ...
3) The next photo might be a bit of a surprise to regular viewers of our social media pages ... who is this?
Yes, it's Ayumi-san, who is actually now 'off' on pregnancy leave. But she's past the initial rough part of that job, and is back for some light jobs until she just gets too big. She volunteered to do the proofing of the 'Dragon's Gift' design ... which is actually a very difficult assignment, due to the very large number of complex overlays.
I can't put a shipping date on this one yet, because it's too soon to see which of our printers will be available for it, but anyway, it's on the way!
4) The block set for the 'Serpent Strikes' is being prepared by our young carver Kawasaki-san, and although I don't have a photo for you, she tells me that she is now finishing up the final face, and she'll be sending them here later this week. So that means the blocks for four of the six new prints are done!
But it's not just the new prints that were part of this campaign. Ten people are very eagerly waiting for news about the bound book version of the first ten Ukiyo-e Heroes designs. And I can report that - finally - all ten of them are now in hand:
While getting these ready (they all had to be printed on specially wider paper, to make room for the binding), I've been gathering the other material that will be bound together - an information sheet for each print, the colophon, and of course the block-printed covers. It's beginning to look like I'll be doing the sewing on these books myself, and I'll post more photos as I get further along in the process.
So there we are ... deliveries are now starting, and will continue over the next few months as each batch of prints is finished. Thank you everybody for your patience with us while we get this difficult work done! And of course thank you again for supporting our work this way!