Kristen McClarty, my mokuhanga journey

Although I’d seen Mokuhanga, I didn’t know her by her name until last year when I met Natasha Norman and her South African Mokuhanga movement. I loved the subtlety and acknowledgement of the wood as an integral part of the print. The translucence of the colour. The precision.

While I enjoy the Western woodblock process, I’ve been doing a lot of watercoluor sketching and I wanted to take that simplicity into the printmaking process. I felt Mokuhanga was an appropriate route.

After chatting to Natasha, I signed up to the online Karuizawa Mokuhanga course, with full course material available for a year. I could have opted for the 3 month access but I wanted to properly absorb the full process. I couldn’t get immediate access to the specific tools, so I used the closest I could find. I allocated time and slowly went through all of the material, working on my own Mokuhanga as I progressed. I tried to preserve my own style, working off one of my watercolour sketches. I was really trying to capture the essence of the space.

I’m planning to do one or 2 more of these small Mokuhanga translations of water colour sketches, and once I have better tools and access to suitable washi paper, I’ll take it a step further. The beauty is that I can refer back to the course material as I go, to continue the learning process.

This immersion in a different style and process has been just what I was looking for. I expect it will impact the style of my Western woodblock too.

by Kristen McClarty

Kristen McClarty. 2021. A Sunday Afternoon. 160 x 140mm. Mokuhanga

Follow Kristen on Instagram and YouTube. Her printworks are available through her studio or at Kalk Bay Modern and Aardvark Gallery.