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‘Stamps in Time’ displays woodblock prints in Hoi An

‘All you need is a piece of wood, ink, paper and a knife’ to create art, says British expat Jack Clayton.

The Saigon resident has been carving a creative niche for himself over the last six years. He’s exhibiting his work outside the city for the first time in the central town of Hoi An.

The art of hand-carving images onto blocks of wood, and producing a print by applying ink and pressing the woodcut on paper has enjoyed various renaissances.

Stamps in Time,  woodblock prints, Hoi An ancient town, cohesive images, creative niche, various renaissances, religious imagery, woodcut printmaking, handmade crafts

An ice-cream (kem) tricycle appears in one of the works at Jack Clayton's woodcut exhibition featuring contemporary Hoi An.

The earliest completed pieces date back to the 8th and 9th centuries in China and Japan. In the 15th century, the art form gained widespread popularity in Europe, when it was used primarily to reproduce religious imagery.

Saigon expat Jack Clayton started doing ‘woodcuts’ while at university in Leeds, England, just over 10 years ago, and has been producing original materials since.

Energized and inspired by his move to Vietnam in 2012, specifically by the streets of his adopted city, his output picked up pace, he says.

"I’ve always been more attracted to handmade crafts rather than digital," Clayton said. "It’s more personal to me when you aren’t relying on the latest technology to create. With woodcut printmaking, all you need is a piece of wood, ink, paper and a knife."

Since early work that explored the writings of Carl Jung, followed by his fascination with the faces and expressions he found in Saigon’s alleyways, this exhibition, called ‘Stamps in Time’, is heavily influenced by his impressions of contemporary Hoi An.

He has produced a collection of prints hand-carved into Japanese Magnolia side-grain and printed onto a mixture of imported French as well as Vietnamese ‘Giay Dzo’ paper. It marks a significant step in the artists’ progression, but as Clayton says it is part of a loose plan to explore other parts of the country and the region.

"I have come from knowing little about this ancient town to have a fair grasp on the history and formation of Hoi An.

Stamps in Time,  woodblock prints, Hoi An ancient town, cohesive images, creative niche, various renaissances, religious imagery, woodcut printmaking, handmade crafts

Cyclos ride along tailor shops under street lanterns in Hoi An, which is one of the works at Jack Clayton's woodcut exhibition.

"Materials and process-wise, it’s the first set of cohesive images that I have made at once for a single series and also the first set of many using Japanese materials such as side-wood from the magnolia tree. This will be a permanent feature of my practice from now on as the details and textures I have achieved in this portfolio far outdo any previous work of mine.

Jack said he has a Hue and Hanoi series in the pipeline too and would like to look at the possibility of creating some Cambodian-inspired prints sometime in the future.

As part of the exhibition, which opens at 6 p.m. Friday at Art Space at 1 Pham Hong Thai and then will run also at the March Gallery at 25 Phan Boi Chau until February 12, Jack will host three workshops to introduce the art of woodblock printing.

 

Archives Centre praised for preserving Nguyen dynasty’s woodblocks
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has praised the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city for its efforts in preserving the Nguyen dynasty printing woodblocks, which were recogised by UNESCO as a Memory of the World.
 
Deputy PM urges promoting the values of Nguyen Dynasty’s woodblocks
Standing Deputy Prime minister Truong Hoa Binh has requested that the relevant ministries and sectors devise measures in order to promote the values of the woodblocks of the Nguyen Dynasty.
 
Vinh Nghiem, Bo Da pagoda woodblock preservation project results accepted
(BGO) – The Ministry of Science and Technology has organised an evaluation council for the national independent project of “Preservation and development of woodblock heritage value in Vinh Nghiem and Bo Da pagodas in the northern province of Bac Giang” implemented by the Center of Information and Statistic for Science and Technology (Bac Giang provincial Department of Science and Technology).
 
Buddhist woodblock repository on Phuong Hoang mountain
On the left bank of the Cau river, the ancient pagoda of Bo Da on Phuong Hoang (Phoenix) mountain (Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province) houses a repository of Buddhist woodblocks, the second of its after the one in Vinh Nghiem pagoda. Over hundreds of years, the pagoda’s original architecture has stayed intact. The more than 2,000 Buddhist woodblocks stored at the pagoda are considered invaluable.
 
Woodblocks’ values at Bo Da Pagoda
(BGO) – Bo Da Pagoda in Tien Son commune, Viet Yen district (Bac Giang), is home to nearly 2,000 woodblocks, which hold historical, religious, cultural, linguistic, literary, artistic and sculptural value. Among them there are woodblocks of “Loi nguphe” (The King’s Preamble) by Chinese Emperor Yongzheng in June, the 11th year of the Yongzheng reign (1733), and the “Loi dan moi san khac” (The New Preamble) by Vietnamese King Nguyen Duc Tong (titled Tu Duc) in 1855.
 
Bo Da Pagoda’s Sutra woodblocks named world oldest
(BGO) – The collection of Sutra woodblocks carved on thi wood (decandrous perssimmom) in Bo Da Pagoda, Bac Giang province has been named the world’s oldest of its kind at the 33th Meeting of the Vietnam Record Holders recently held in HCM City.
 

Source: VnExpress

Stamps in Time, woodblock prints, Hoi An ancient town, cohesive images, creative niche, various renaissances, religious imagery, woodcut printmaking, handmade crafts
 
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