I went to the Artisans Center of Virginia Statewide Conference in Roanoke on Saturday. I met talented artisans from other parts of the state; listened to guest speakers Vanessa Bertozzi of Etsy and James Thurman from the University of North Texas; attended a networking workshop by Sarah Beth Jones of Nary Ordinary Business Services and a panel discussion about technology and the handmade; and watched Hollins University professor Jennifer D. Anderson and her students print a very large wood block print.
The block was cut from MDF and inked up using very large brayers.
They laid the block on the ground for printing and used a strong Japanese washi paper. I learned that "rice" paper is a misnomer and that the paper is not made of rice at all. However, the word for rice in Japanese is similar to that of one of the types of paper and so it became known as rice paper. The paper is made of natural ingredients other than wood pulp.
If you don't have a printing press big enough for your block, what do you do? Use wooden spoons? A little baren? You'd be there all day and have difficulty keeping the pressure consistent. You could use a steam roller like Jennifer did at Roanoke's Marginal Arts Festival. But that was a little too big for this print. So how about a sod roller?
And the final result (drumroll please...)....