Motoharu Asaka, one of the last remaining master woodblock carvers in Japan, with more than 45 years experience and commissions from national museums and world-renowned contemporary artists, is visiting European institutions in Finland, Italy, France and the UK in September, 2015.
He will give workshops about Japanese woodblock (ukiyo-e) carving and printing using traditional methods, developed in Japan during the last 400 years, and passed down through the strict apprenticeship system. Spike Print Studio is delighted to welcome him and offer you this unique opportunity to meet him.
(The techniques of traditional Japanese woodblock (ukiyo-e) carving and printing gave artists such as Utagawa, Hokusai and Hiroshige a means to execute their vision with highly refined carved lines and an expanding palette of colors throughout the Edo period (1600-1853). These methods were passed down through the apprenticeship system but were never introduced fully into the formal art education system except in cases where an individiual professor had a particular passion. For this among other reasons, ukiyoe carving and printing techniques were difficult to master for those not prepared to undergo an arduous 10-year apprenticeship.
Motoharu Asaka wanted nothing more, and at the age of 17 moved to Kyoto to begin formal training.
In the past 10 years however, he has become increasingly concerned about the scarcity of successors in all areas of woodblock printmaking. From carvers to paper-makers, tool-makers and paper-coating specialists, Japan’s most well-known artform is in danger of dying out. He is actively involved in supporting the remaining community and is Head of the secretariat for the Ukiyoe Carving and Printing Association and sits on the boards of the Tokyo Traditional Woodblock Print Craft Cooperative Partnership and the Tokyo Woodblock Print Crafts Association. Since 2011, recognising the need to spread his knowledge as widely as possible, he opened his studio to the public and now has around 40 students engaged in studying woodblock printing on a weekly basis.
Motoharu Asaka will be visiting the UK as part of a European tour this Autumn. He will be accompanied by Louise Rouse (MFA), Adjunct Professor for printmaking at Temple University, Japan Campus, who will provide interpretation/language support for workshops and lectures in English. )