Printing ‘Caldera Overlook’ by Emma Stibbon

In summer 2017 Emma Stibbon printed Caldera Overlook, her largest work to date at Spike Print Studio.  Together with Amy-Jane Blackwell of Ink on Paper Press and Lisa Takahashi, artist and tutor at Spike Print Studio, they spent many arduous hours realising this extraordinary work and producing an edition of 10. The woodcut evokes the glow of a volcanic crater through a lush rainforest as witnessed by Emma during her 2016 residency with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  It was printed for her exhibition at Alan Cristea Gallery in September.

Of the work, Emma says:

“Woodcut has this graphic impact that can give tonal drama to an image. I worked in two sets of blocks, the blended under colour and then  a second black block that sits on top. I was thinking about Japanese artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige who achieve this beautiful blend of  colour on the block – a technique called bokashi. Woodcut has an organic  feel to it; you have the grain of the wood obviously, but this also  determines the marks you can cut because it’s more difficult to cut  against the grain. I quite like that rawness as opposed to something  flat and inert like lino. It also seemed appropriate to use wood to  depict a rain forest. I’ve always felt attracted to woodcut – you are  cutting your highlights out of a dark plane. It’s a kind of dark,  god-like thing to illuminate something as opposed to building up a tonal  image on a white page.”