Roberta Waddell Review

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