The book recently received a nice review in Professional Artist magazine. You can purchase the issue here.
G&E, Grabado y Edicion, Print and Art Edition Magazine, Madrid also published a review. I published an article Mouhanga Renaissance with them last year, and you can subscribe to this excellent publication here.
An excellent interview by Misako Yomosa about the book and my show in Tokyo was published on the front page of issue 49 of Washi-Dayori Review, Kyoto, Japan. In Japanese.
Artists, curators, collectors, gallerists, and print and Asian art enthusiasts will find April Vollmer’s remarkable publication, Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop, indispensable.
Vollmer considers the Japanese woodblock print (mokuhanga) as it reflects Japanese culture in a succinct history of the medium with a special focus on collaboration and superb craftsmanship, hallmarks of the ukiyo-e print in Edo and Meiji Japan. She emphasizes how the Japanese woodblock print can inspire artists in the 21st century by utilizing non-toxic, “green” materials, which readily combine with traditional processes and new printing technologies. With a selection of recent work she features contemporary artists, who creatively have reconsidered mokuhanga. Her comprehensive guide to traditional tools and materials (including an enlightening discussion of Japanese paper), and lucid, illustrated, step-by-step instructions on all aspects of cutting a block and pulling a print make this publication a uniquely invaluable manual and guide. Equally valuable to artists is her appendix listing supplies and suppliers, classes, residencies and conferences. I wish I had had this publication while Curator of a Western print collection with strong holdings of Japanese prints!
Roberta Waddell, Retired Curator of Prints, The New York Public Library
The mainstreaming of the Japanese term for woodblock prints, mokuhanga, stands as testament enough that its uncompromising techniques are gaining ground outside Japan, beyond cultural tradition and indigenous practice. To be sure, it is only in recent decades that studios, workshops, universities and other sites of production from San Francisco to Singapore, Helsinki to Toronto, have promoted the particular attributes of mokuhanga to attract broader interest. Along with the increasing appeal of its non-toxic methods, mokuhanga’s complex techniques born by demonstrated competence in hand skills, elaborate finessing of color, sheer physical stamina in the printing process, conscious manipulation of washi or other refined handmade papers, and overall flexibility for both individual and collaborative production offers new possibilities to the versatile 21st-century creator.
While coalescing a mass of cross-cultural, on-site technical know-how and vast swaths of creative inspiration from traditionally trained artisans to dynamic contemporary artists, April Vollmer’s Japanese Woodblock Workshop elucidates anew the multilayered world of mokuhanga. The effect is to not only to demystify, but also to broaden access to an art and craft that, when stripped down to its fundamentals, may be challenging yet pleasing in its materiality, portability and affordability, with the steady prospect for rich and unerringly handmade results. Moreover, Vollmer widens the path for mokuhanga today to accumulate new value abroad like ukiyo-e, mokuhanga’s earliest images to attract a committed following beyond East Asia, even as it has already begun to reshape the conceptualization of what it means to practice, produce—and appreciate—mokuhanga. Vollmer’s indefatigable efforts and enthusiasm to foster links east and west across the mokuhanga world as well as among the diverse makers, from the image itself to the multitude of materials that support it, identify a unique social environment that this art and craft fosters above all, revealing it as a welcome alternative in our remote, digitalizing and virtual world(s).
What a wonderful accomplishment. We love it. We think it is an important book to have and will enrich the appreciation and creation of Japanese woodblock creating. You have really done it!! A testament to your skills, abilities and production and passion. We are so proud of you and happy for you!!!
Love, Susan and AG
You published a book of substance! What an accomplishment! I am most impressed with your organization of materials and your way with words. It is so difficult to find creative, new ways to relate history and methods, and you were truly successful. I am enjoying the prints you included, too,(and am in total awe of Bill Paden’s “Saga”). Congratulations on a work that will benefit so many for years to come. I will treasure the book, as I treasure the privilege of having met you.
Thank you for the book. I am very impressed. I am honored to be featured with my woodcuts. I have not stopped reading it, cover to cover. There is a lot of information, historical and technical. I am now reading the Washi section. Very interesting. You did much research, to bring to us the Japanese cultural and historical information as well as the how it is made. It gives my great respect for the technical development and the precision by which it is made. I also liked the chapter on all the artist teaching Mokuhanga in America. This will be most helpful, thinking back on how long it took me to find Bill [Paden].
You made a wonderful book that will be appreciated by many. Congratulations!
It’s wonderfully written with love and knowledge. I stayed late last night reading. I learned so many things, and I loved the chapter about the paper. You really did your research. You’re writing with so much sensitivity how things which we normally ignore like variations in humidity, temperature, light, soil composition will affect the way plants grow which in the end affect the way paper will behave. As much as I always loved paper I will look at it with even more respect: it’s a live organism with which we cooperate.
Looking forward to have my book signed by you.
Thank you for such a great gift.
I would take it with me on a lonely island.
Love and hugs, Ana
Artist and teacher April Vollmer has made an exemplary book…a beautiful book with her attention to the details and process described in “Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop.” She has brought together an expansive viewpoint on the influence of mokuhanga prints and watercolor printing technique into the wider circle of international contemporary artists, an art that gives voice to our time in an inherently beautiful way.