Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with leading you on a meandering tour of the virtual garden of delights and curiosities and thoughts that make up my world – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
X is for…
xylography: the art of making engravings on wood especially for for printing
Block printing is an centuries old art form popular in India, China, Japan, and many other East Asian countries. I’m fascinated by it, and I’ve seen demonstrations of both Japanese woodblock printing on paper, and Indian printing on fabric. I’ve found a couple of short videos online that give a great sense of the process, and I encourage you to check them out.
I have a number of articles of clothing and fabric that have been block printed and they’re all treasures to me. Here’s a peek at a few.
The idea of carving wood amazes me. I’ve done the most simplistic carvings on lino, soft-kut (a rubber-like material) and even erasers, and it’s great fun. But I doubt I could manage anything complicated, let alone on wood.
Musing about wooden blocks got me wondering where the expression blockhead came from. An insult, meaning a stupid or idiotic person, it’s suggested the term may have come from the head-shaped wooden blocks used by hat makers.
But I also thought about another blockhead. I love my plant-brained block.
I may not actually have a block head, but there’s no doubt part of me is indeed wood. According to the 9 Star Ki, a system based on interpreting the energetic qualities one carries based on one’s birthday, my primary number, meaning my primary characteristics, is yang wood. Yang wood is associated with sunrise, east, early Spring, liver/gallbladder, light green; proceeding, advancement, beginnings, accomplishing, optimism, creativity; and yang wood personalities are emotional, strong, idealistic, poetic, brilliant, active, aesthetic, kind-hearted, straightforward, romantic, successful. Extremes include: temperamental, opinionated, stubborn, competitive. Of course, I claim none of those latter characteristics.
My house is filled with sticks and branches and I also have a number of carved wooden figures – some African, some Balinese, and one of my favorites was carved by sister-in-law. I shared a stash of Cypress knees with her and in return she carved a two-sided goddess for me. Aren’t I lucky? Don’t you love the idea of Cypress knees? I get shivers of delight just saying the word.
So what about you? Love block printing? Done any carving? Feel blocked about anything? Even if you don’t know anything about the 9 Star Ki system, would you consider yourself more like wood, water, earth, fire, or metal? Do tell – you know I love to hear.