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White Elephant in the Workshop

I have been working extensively on woodcut relief prints since my professional practice in 2013.

It is "fortunate" for me that my inclinations to printmaking and art making in general have been relief printing.

Why fortunate? To every printmaking trained artists/graduates/students out there, I feel that we can openly address the white elephant in the room - availability of workshop equipments.

Very often we don't fully appreciate the resources that is available to us whilst enrolled into an academic institution.

Wa the 3 different etching presses to choose from, the seemingly endless supply of rags, newsprint, and brayers.

As a student in my time, I am drawn to woodcut almost right from the beginning. In fact, I started doing it even before I was properly "taught". (It was a disaster)

Woodcut Print by Kathe Kollwitz

Inspired by the German expressionists, Kathe Kollwitz in particular, I decided then and there that I want to commit my time to this craft.

Over time I came to appreciate not only the availability of the medium, but also it's cost

effectiveness (I was a poor student 🙃).

After all how difficult and expensive it is to get a set of carving tools, timber, and paper, right? Heck, I can even make a print without a press.

Zhang Fuming Hand Printed Woodcut

This discipline and continuation of medium choice allow me to jump right into my professional practice in due time. In a way, this is also my reaction to the situation in hand; I want to make prints the only way I can, for now.

As things goes, I have since produced quite an extensive body of work in relief printing ranging up to - bigger then life sizes. (I print by hand, there's no press bed I have to fit into. Timber Merchant's the limit!)

The point of all these is.... this is not an attempt to "convert" everyone to relief printing - seriously, don't, I will sad.

I got lucky, I am able to react and pursue my passion without missing (not unbearably at least) an etching press or gigantic paper bath until quite recently.

What about you? What is your "game plan"?

Is it a good enough reason to stop practicing because you can't "access" a workshop?

We live in a golden age of information technology and international logistics connectivity. What can't we access again?

Zhang Fuming's Studio, December 2016

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