Workshop with Annie Bissett


July 16-20, 2017

Limited to 12

Annie Bissett is stepping in where April Vollmer is leaving off. Annie is a welcome addition to our faculty and brings a long history of work and teaching mokuhanga. Beside she comes as April’s personal pick. Come welcome Annie to MakingArtSafely this summer.

Mokuhanga is more than just Japanese woodblock – it is a method of expression that is surprisingly low tech easily practiced at home or really anywhere: on the porch, under a tree, camping – it need be neither equipment or space intensive. In a way it parallels drawing in simplicity of tools and space and painting in expression  – doesn’t take gobs of tools, lots of space, or even digital. Mokuhanga can be as direct from the artist to print as you choose to make it with the satisfaction that comes from balancing craftsmanship with personal aesthetic express. The course opens up much more than how to carve like a Japanese printmaker, it includes the unique way in which the plates are inked and printed, the specialized Mokuhanga tools and of course Japanese fine papers. On top of that mokuhanga is a healthy process, fume free, small in clean up, easy to put down and pick back up. Plus it is an old process that has yet to meet its full contemporary potencial. There is room for  you to make your mark.

This workshop will touch on all aspects of the process: transferring images to woodblocks, carving with Japanese tools, using the kento registration system, and printing with brushes and a baren. Participants will also learn a few of the printing techniques particular to the Japanese method, especially how to create a bokashi (gradation) and how to create and control printed textures. All levels of experience are welcome.

Annie Bissett is a mostly self-taught artist who has been working primarily with mokuhanga since 2005, when she studied briefly with New Hampshire woodblock artist Matt Brown. Annie’s print work builds on her 25+ year career as a freelance digital illustrator, serving a national clientele that has included Time-Life Publications, National Geographic Society, American Express, and the Wall Street Journal. Her woodblock prints have been exhibited throughout the United States and in Japan, Canada, and the U.K. See her work at

What’s Included

  • Woodblock supplies included in your studio fee:
  • 2 wood 8 x 10 shina woodblocks, both sides are usable
  • Japanese paper – 2 large sheets of kozuke to tear down (makes 8 print size per full sheet), additional kozuke will be available for purchase.
  • Color, paste, miscellaneous supplies
  • Loan of brushes and barens, some cutting tools
  • Note your General Studio Fee is used to provide an extensive array of relevant shop needs, including: ink, ink knives, modifiers, cleaning supplies, paper towels and rags, tarlatan, newsprint, mat knives, aprons, some drawing acetates, india ink, and a thorough list of other communal creative print shop needs. What is not covered by your fees are additional printing papers and other non-communal printing supplies.

What to Bring

The following additional items will be useful for class:

  • Pencils – hard to soft and eraser
  • Ruler (clear, if possible)    
  • Drawing tools, pens, brushes, whatever you usually use to draw
  • tracing paper
  • Images, either drawings or photocopies approximately 7.5 x 9.5”
  • Special purchases: If you would like to purchase additional supplies consider:
  • Power Grip 5-tool set: about $60 from Japan Woodworker or Rockler
  • Professional cutting tools: 6 mm hangi toh $40, 2-part u-gouges, aisuki and soainomi, prices vary.
  • Barens: $50 white plastic disk baren; $200 murasaki baren from McClain’s
  • Brushes: Surikomi Bake, stencil Brushes from McClain’s. Prices vary depending on size.
  • Washi Japanese paper: be sure to specify that it is for Japanese woodblock, lightly sized kozo fiber prints best

That’s it! Any questions about supplies, please feel free to contact us.

Workshop Itinerary

  • Monday morning begins with students arriving at the studio between 9:30-10 AM.
  • Daily instruction is 10 AM to 4 PM with the studio open to students between 9:30 AM and 7 PM. Exception is Friday when the workshop ends at 4 PM.
  • Bring a lunch everyday except Tuesday when we go out Dutch for a late lunch
  • Thursday night we host a dinner in our courtyard. Companion welcome.