The approaching deadline for a biennial Japanese screen print competition motivated me to try something different this summer. This photo of the texture left in a glass bowl by cooked black beans gave me the idea of trying to simulate ceramic raku effects:
My sisters-in-law in Victoria had grown and harvested the beans, which “grounded” them and connected me to my subject matter! (They are very delicious, by the way 😉
I began by printing a background gradient with a circular gradient on top.
Then I created several bitmaps at different thresholds from the greyscale photo of the black bean texture to use as film positives that I could print:
I started printing these textures using copper ink, then gold, then red, violet and clear. I printed the lightest texture with repeated layers of clear to create a tactile relief surface texture.
I wasn’t satisfied with the pale blue to mauve background – it was too sweet, and some small flaws bothered me. So I overprinted it with three versions: mostly black, with a few indigo and carmine red. Finally, a metallic frame (some gold, some copper) to trap the background colours.
Here are some photos and closeups of what I ended up calling, Babarrunak Raku (Babarrunak is Euskera/Basque for black beans!).
Thanks to Sophia, Annerose, Ian and Claire for their feedback during the printmaking process, to Peter Braune at New Leaf Editions for his advice on flattening paper, and to our stalwart supplier, Willox Graphics.
Babarrunak Raku won the Prize of Excellence (4th prize) in the 7th NBC MESHTECH Tokyo International Screen Print Biennial. It was exhibited at Yurakucho Asahi Gallery between November 22 and 27, 2019. The award ceremony was held at Ginza Lion in Tokyo on November 25, 2019.