“The Awakening” is a wood cut printed in 2010. It was the first ‘official print’ from my newly acquired MES etching press and as such is very special to me.
The image shows a woman being pulled from the ground as in birth. A ferocious eagle pulls the still sleeping woman by the hair. The eagle has wings spread and beak gaping. The claws are huge and terrifying. Through a sudden and dramatic act the raptor pulls this primeval woman, the first artist, from out of the soil.
The woman is attractive, muscular with a young face and that gorgeous long hair without end. She is dragging her feet along. The eagle grows impatient. She touches a tree. This tree is the first tree and the old wood. Her fingers crossed “good luck” and the early sign of the Christian. Maybe she says “I’m not awake, I’m not ready”. The eagle will have none of that. Roots, soil, a crescent and fruit lie at her feet. Everything she needs is at the ready.
The boxes in the sky represent humankind. We make boxes in our lives. There are no empty boxes in nature. Our momentary prayers, our curses, homes, caskets, confessional boxes, our trust in the things we make, matters of the Spirit are in those boxes. In Thailand candles and small paper kites are part of a ritual to remember loved ones.
In July 2014, I sold the remaining prints as a purge. So it’s officially, “good bye”. I like to think it is now time to till and tithe.
The print is made from ply wood that is lacquered with a few coats of shellac sanded in between. This was the way I was taught to make an easy and cheap plate for printing. Shellac helps prevent the timber from splitting when it is carved and assists in clean up.
Hahnemühle etching paper is used in the Limited edition of three prints. This is not the best paper for a relief print. I certainly would not recommend it. But at the time it was all that I had in sufficient dimension. I was quite ignorant with the properties of different printing papers at the time. So I had a go with this ‘wrong paper’.
The image is also the largest I am capable of printing on my press bed. It is as if I wanted to utilize every possible square inch of that bed in my first print.
There are two editions as Single Prints with different chine collé. One with BFK Rives Tan (“The Awakening” S/P (Tan) and the other with Kingin Sunario (tissue with silver and gold flecks). As I recall one of the prints is on Hahnemühle and the other on Somerset.
The three limited edition prints and the two single prints (5 in total) are in private collections in Western Australia and Queensland, Australia.
Image size –
Image 87 cm x 50 cm
Paper nominally 98 cm x 56 cm
16 July 2014.