Day 9 | Karuizawa (1)

diary in the supermarket

The sound of a sliding door opening and closing wakes me up. Disorientated.

We are sleeping in the studio, Vladimir upstairs, me downstairs. Terry and Aya live in a house next door. There are no other guests, so V. doesn’t have to share his room. I have a private bedroom.

Terry gives us a lift in his mini-van to the local supermarket. The local Delhaize, with cheese and butter and even baguettes. What a cool car. I think Vladimir would like to get his driving licence just for it!

Breakfast of bread, fruit, milk and coffee! Still very tasty, too. As we will be working here soon, we clear the table and wash up.

breakfast and printing-stuff on the table

Workshop on the first day: learning how to maintain the equipment. We discuss what we would all like to learn from Terry and we get our first few questions answered.

Most of our questions are about the printing technique that he is using. Over the past few days we have noticed that we print a lot wetter than most people. Vladimir is beginning to have some doubts about his ‘knowledge’. As the morning progresses, it seems that everything we are doing is wrong. We are printing too wet, we are holding our knife the wrong way and cutting the wrong way, even the way we are sharpening our material is wrong…

sharpening tools
sharpening stones

My master’s heart skips a beat when it turns out that summer time has been changed here too. Quietly, all certainties crumbled like a house of cards!

Later it turned out that it was not the clock, but the town bell that had been put on summertime. At 12 noon and again at 5 pm, the bell rings all over the city. This is the sign to stop working, go home and eat. In the summer, the bell goes off an hour later. Phew!

Vladimir is able to breathe again. However, when someone comes to visit and Vladimir shows his mokuhanga, both visitor and Terry are impressed. So it can’t be that bad ;-)

vieuw from the terrace at the vulcano

We start to make our design. My plan was to do something simple. Just to learn the techniques, and not really a masterpiece. But I’ve already had a lot of ideas on this trip. It’s hard to control myself. I prefer to sketch and design when there are no people around me. I long for a less stimulating environment to think in. After hesitating and going back and forth, I decide to go with my first idea. I make a design based on the drawings I made of the creeping water droplets at the museum in Teshima It is simple. Simple, but I can do many things with it - I think.

vladimir working on his desk

By the end of the evening I have my drawings transferred on the boards. Vladimir is ready to transfer his to the wood tomorrow.

All in all, a very good job.

It is going to be -2 degrees here tonight. We are staying in a traditional cottage with tatami rugs on the floor. There are paraffin stoves in all the rooms. There is no insulation or double glazing. I switch on the electric blanket to warm up my bed a little before I crawl between the sheets.