Terry's Mokuhanga and work as a Mokuhanga Artist
"I work with the traditional Japanese woodblock print technique - "Mokuhanga". Since childhood I've loved all kinds of art and making creative objects. I have a compulsion to create art objects and speak with my heart and hands with the inherent beauty of materials and images. I also feel very fortunate that I can continue making my woodblock prints. I strive with each new work to create something original and compelling."
Why do I work in mokuhanga?
~ Mokuhanga combines my passions for traditional skills and material craftsmanship with the versatility and freedom of the medium
~ It has been and continues to be an exciting challenge to master the variety and complications of the technique
~ I love the inherent beauty of the materials and tools – Washi has its’ own warmth, softness and lustre that is retained in the process and the tools and equipment are simple, constructed from natural materials with beautiful and functional design.
~ I have always appreciated and been excited by the imagery, colours, compositions and flatness of Ukiyo-e
~ The variety of approaches and possibilities are truly inspiring!
Since childhood I’ve loved art and making art. I remember one of my first days at school drawing a car. I put in all the details I could visualise clearly.. door handles, bumper bars, headlights and panel trim, swept up wheel arches, tyres and hubs.. I looked at the drawing the boy next to me was drawing, it looked like a potato! I thought to myself “he mustn’t be able to see a car properly.”
I didn’t know until later that the skill of observing and recording in art was a gift that not all people had or developed.
I’ve always thought of myself as an artist and maker and believed I could create anything. Whether I could or not is a different truth, but the idea sustains me as an artist.
After high school I entered art university, however finding it difficult to fit the mould, and although I produced good work, it was failed. I embarked on creative pathways that included continuing with fine arts of painting and drawing, sculpture, metal engineering, smithing and welding, woodwork including guitar repair and toy-making. Later in New Zealand, I found more amenable tertiary environments and eventually achieved a Masters Degree in 2002.
I’ve made art and other creative objects all my life and early on as an adult focussed on oil painting. My imagery was contemporary and I’ve always been somewhat of an upholder of tradition when it comes to the craft and materials of art making. I produced many large artworks, however I moved to a much smaller house with no studio and my adventures with woodblock printmaking began!
At first I produced works with Western techniques and materials but it wasn’t long before I aspired to learn the Japanese technique and began a period of self-study. I made a lot of mistakes and spoiled a lot of expensive paper. I feel very fortunate to spend two years living in Kyoto and studying with Richard Steiner. The experiences I had there have changed my life and opened new possibilities for me. Having a highly experienced practitioner and skilled teacher was enormously beneficial, with a few words or short demonstration I could quickly learn what was going wrong and improve my skills.
I feel immensely grateful to the generations of artisans who have perfected and shared the techniques of mokuhanga, and to the teachers and artists in Japan and other countries who share their work and experience.
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