Paper, rice paste, gelatin plate ... lunar calendar in the making

I'm making a lunar calendar for 2011 -- a little late ... but wait .... there are still 12 full moons left in 2011!  This idea has been percolating for quite a while. I mocked up my design while I was visiting Maine this past October. My sister had found a great set of old brass stencil letters at a junk shop so we had to play with them! Here's a peek at the design. I cut the moons from a stencil plastic.

 The "&" points represents the blue moon in July

The "&" points represents the blue moon in July

I reduced the design by 50% to make it easier to handle for printing. The final image will be approximately 22" x 9". I'm using some Japanese Kozo from Wet Paint Art. I cut the stencil from a tyvek mailing envelope. I didn't want to use shibugami paper. The tyvek is easy to cut with an Xacto, but not as delicious to work with as shibugami. Tyvek, like shibugami, is nearly waterproof.

 soaking tyvek stencil after pasting

soaking tyvek stencil after pasting

Below is the first stage of the calendar after "printing" the rice paste. Keep in mind that the paste masks the color of the paper and will prevent the color from reaching it. I used strips of tape on my carpet table as an alignment guide for the paper, and also taped the top edge of the stencil down to the carpet.

 layer 1: rice paste on kozo paper

layer 1: rice paste on kozo paper

When the paste dries it makes the paper buckle a little, but this is not a problem. I am printing the calendar with a gelatin plate. I'm using my hand as a baren, to smooth the paper onto the plate, ensuring that the paper reaches the ink. The ink in this case is opaque watercolor, which I have thinned with a few drops of soy milk.

 smoothing paper over plate with hand

smoothing paper over plate with hand

Today I printed the 2nd layer of paste, using my small rabbit stencil. After all, it is Year of the Rabbit!

 2nd layer of paste

2nd layer of paste

On Friday I'll post the final stages and the final print. If all goes well, I'll give away one print in a drawing and put the rest on my shop.