Wednesday, December 10, 2008

making nengajo

I have this knack for forgetting either my computer or my power cord lately... (my battery now lasts only about 19 minutes when fully charged...thinking that's probably not a good thing, but ...) and this weekend I had my Japanese test up in Fukuoka, so just now getting to posting the latest -

I'm currently working on my nengajo (New Year's card) in my painting class. This page of Japanese is of kichigo (lit. "lucky language" = good fortune expressions) and the one with the numbers is the one I'm using as part of my nengajo design. I'm using a very old and very primitive style of lettering called kinbun. My design basically expresses the wish for the recipient to enjoy long life and prosperity.


In this photo you can see some of my reference materials and the priliminary sketches of the design, which is composed of four elements to be carved onto a ~5cm x 5cm x 8cm stone. After my teacher ground the stone so that the top was flat, I painted the top orange (it's the same ink teachers use to correct calligraphy students' work) and then, using sumi ink, I painted the characters on the stone backwards (so that when I ink & print it, the design comes out the right way). Backwards? Heck, I can barely write this stuff forwards!


Anyway, I then carved away all the orange bits so that the letters and frame remained. Good thing it's supposed to look primitive :)
If you look closely in this photo, you can see my stone resting on a practice paper from the calligraphy class - do you see the orange swirly lines? That meant that part of the calligraphy character was done well. You can also see my chisels in the upper part of the picture.

3 comments:

Penquin said...

Very Cool....especially the Japanese text for the #3 looks exactly like a traditional Japanese House

Cara said...

Very cool - can't wait to get my card and see the results!!

Cara said...

Very cool - can't wait to get my card and see the results!!