Tanuki Print’s Appalachian Trail Series: Half Way Point!

proofs
Animation of proofs of the first 7 state prints

Sorry that I’ve been pretty ‘mum’ about any prints lately. Since December I have been very busy designing and printing a series of fourteen 5″ x 7″ (8″x10″ paper size) shin hanga– style prints featuring an image from east state along the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. I was a thru-hiker back in 1980 and, 38 yrs later, I continue to re-hike sections of the trail which conveniently starts at Springer Mountain- about 30 miles from my home in the North Georgia mountains. Basically, my idea is to combine two of my interests: backpacking and woodblock printmaking. I’d like to think that it mirrors other pilgrimage print series such as Hiroshige’s Tokaido Road. As an added connection with the trail, I am taking soil samples from each site and integrating the actual dirt with the ink!

Proofs are in the pudding

Well, here are my printed proofs of the first 7 prints. I hope to finish with all 14 proofs by Dec., 2018 (fingers crossed). The remaining images to be designed and proof printed (the last half) are: NJ, NY, CT, MA, VT, NH, and ME. After all of the 14 blocks are proofed, I will then print 100-200 copies of each design– no small feat as the average number of impressions for each design average around 20 colors each. The 80+ laminated cherry blocks are stacking up already with an anticipated total number of 165 by the time I am finished. The paper is Iwano Kizuki from Kitaro Washi which will cost at least US$5,000 for the final editions…

It’s interesting to note that this printmaking process has been similar to long-distance hiking- planning is important, but mainly keeping moving with one step at a time and ignoring distractions are the key.

The final edition will be 1600 prints: 14 designs, 20 passes each which equals to 32,000 impressions! My guesstimate is that this will take around a total of 140 8-hour days to print- about the same number of days it took me to hike the 2,100 miles of the trail. I’m interested to see which is more difficult…

The ultimate goal is to market 100 sets of these 14 prints to hikers and trail enthusiasts- in 2019 to an institution that I hope is interested. At some point, I will make presentation cases to contain them.

As one of my friends once said “I don’t need luck, I have patience”.

It’s getting a bit more efficient and my turn-around time (while working full-time) for a design from start to proof has gone from around 3 weeks to 9 days! I’m pretty pleased at my ability to accurately print the values and coloring of my initial computer print-outs.

 

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