Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Gong Xi Fa Cai

or Gong Hey Fat Choy if you prefer
Chinese New Year Print Workshop

I haven't made it in to uni so far this year, what with driving around New Zealand and inter-semester weeks, and I was beginning to feel slightly cut adrift. 

So, to help me get back into the rhythms of work I spent the day on Friday (28 January) attending a lecture and workshop being run to celebrate the launch of an exhibition of rare woodblock Chinese New Year prints, on the Frenchay campus, at UWE.

Run by two delegates, Professor Fung Ho-yin from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and artist, Yung Sau-mui from the Hong Kong Print Workshop, in order to celebrate the traditional Chinese custom of posting New Year prints to chase away evil spirits and bring good fortune to families. Don't you just love the idea that a big, bold, colourful image on your door post could exert so much influence, so much could be achieved with a few carefully placed prints - bringing peace and love to all . . . .

Mass produced on cheap paper, old prints were not kept or treasured in any way they adorned doorways until they faded or disintegrated, to be replaced for new ones each year. I do know (and I'm sorry) that the quality of these photos isn't good, however, I did take them without a flash in a dimly lit room!

We looked at the origins, traditions, visual styles, tools, materials and techniques used in traditional Chinese woodblock printing.
Looking at the way he holds the knife I find it amazing that such fine lines can be cut, or that he can apply the control required to cut hardwood blocks.

And then we spent some time printmaking (with laser cut blocks!) for ourselves.

My very simple print to bring peace
 and one for prosperity!

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