February 7, 2017

Beyond the Thorns

        I just finished printing this piece, which I had actually carved last summer, and first printed in the early fall or so.  I’d initially printed the thorn block with dark green and didn’t like it.  There wasn’t enough contrast for it to pop; it just looked like mush.  I was discouraged enough that I didn’t get around to trying again until now, with a deadline coming up in the form of Boskone Sci-fi and Fantasy Art Gallery in a week and a half.
        Actually, this piece’s history is even longer than that.  It goes all the way back to when I saw some of M.C. Escher’s pieces in which he had a grey background with black framing by another block.  That was back in 2015, and you can read my initial post here.  Ever since then I’d been mulling what I might do with the idea of background and foreground blocks.  But I still hadn’t got around to doing anything until I gave the assignment to my students this summer, and their work gave me the kick I needed.  (You can see what they came up with in this post.)
        I’ve mentioned before that “Sleeping Beauty” is one of my favorite fairy tales.  The part of the original German version that I like best is the descriptions of the mysterious sleep behind the mysterious hedge of thorns.  (I wrote a poem about it, too, but that's not yet published.)  I love the idea of the beautiful sleeping castle hidden away for a hundred years, but there all the time if one could only glimpse it.  So while my castle block is pretty straightforward, what I really had fun with was the thorn hedge block, just beginning to sprout buds and other signs of life, and open up as the hundred years come to an end.

[Picture: Beyond the Thorns, rubber block print from two blocks by AEGN, 2016-7.]

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