Friday, September 7, 2018

Some details on details

Couple of tiny details

You may not know this but a while back I started carving my "chop" and a small relevant Native American symbol on my prints. Tiny, very tiny, so as not to interfere with the design. Since most of my work is "dense" with many marks and especially many curvy marks, these have gone unnoticed. Someone who bought one of my prints noticed one and asked so I thought I would share with all.

A "chop" is a special marking to identify prints produced in their studio or shop. This marking is known as a “chop” and is either embossed or stamped somewhere on the print. Traditional Japanese woodblock prints, produced in large studios with many collaborators, often have several chops stamped on each print, one for the designer, one for the printer, and so on.
The tradition continues in many studios and many solo printmakers choose to add a chop to their works. Two examples:
Bill Ritchie's chop stamped
from carved wood stamps (guessing)

Tamarind Studio embossed chop with
adjacent printer's chop

My chops

Ever efficient and slightly dissonant with tradition, I usually carve my chop right on the block and let it print within the design. Because I don't want to disturb the compositions, the chops are tiny and often hidden within a whirlwind of my markings. 
One chop I use is a simple rounded M with an A underneath, completing a circular design. My initials.
The other chop I often use is one of many Native American symbols. I have various books and cards full of them and have found many out on my hikes carved or painted in rocks around this area. Carved symbols or entire panels of Native art are called petroglyphs, many times the carvings are painted; sometimes erosion and nature's forces have changed the color of the carved portion against the surrounding rock. Painted panels are usually called pictographs and are a beauty to see, worn by the ages and telling of many stories of the ancient dwellers of the desert. Many panels have a combination of story telling and symbolism. Really fascinating stuff to learn.
Susan Glarion photographer, Newspaper Rock in Moab Utah

Here is my latest print highlighting the chop marks. The butterfly is Native symbol of everlasting life, the other chop is my initials MA in a circle. I add a different Native American symbol to my prints but always my initials.
Left bottom, butterfly symbol meaning
everlasting life

Right bottom, circular MA, my signature

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