Japanese artists give wood block prints Centers to show works by seniors that visited Md. CARROLL COUNTY SENIORS

September 30, 1992|By Linda Lowe Morris | Linda Lowe Morris,Staff Writer

From the city of Kamakura, Japan, a group of senior citizens has sent a gift of art -- a collection of their own wood block prints -- to the senior citizens of Maryland.

These prints will be on display at the Westminster, North Carroll and Taneytown Senior Centers through Oct. 30.

At the Westminster Center, you can see the cool greens of "Bamboo Garden in Hokoku-ji Temple," by 78-year-old Aga Yamagami; the deep red maples in "Jifuku-ji Temple," by 78-year-old Shigeko Aijima; and the brilliant pinks of "Camellias," by 76-year-old Kimie Naguse.

The artists who made these wood block prints are from the Kamakura City Senior Citizens' Welfare and Culture Center.

Kamakura is located in Kanagawa, Maryland's sister state in Japan. These artists were among a group of 115 Japanese citizens who toured Maryland last year under the auspices of the Sister City and Sister State program of the Maryland International Division.

Jan Martin, chief of the Division of Community Services and Nutrition of the State Office on Aging, said the exhibit is part of an exchange of art between seniors in the two states.

"When Governor [William Donald] Schaefer went to Japan in the spring of 1991, we were asked to send examples of artwork to Kanagawa from the participants in the senior centers and the nutrition sites," he said.

"We decided on quilting, because it is an art form they don't have in Japan. And we didn't want to send large things because space is crowded in Japan. So our seniors did quilt squares. In return, they sent us 40 wood block prints."

The exhibit is rotating through all the senior centers in Maryland.

The technique of wood block printing originated in the late eighth century, but it wasn't until the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that it reached its peak.

In the 17th century, the technique was given the name ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the floating world."

One unknown Japanese writer at the time described it this way: "The Floating World consists of living only for the moment, savoring the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves . . ."

In the wood block technique, a sketch is first done on tissue-thin paper. That drawing is glued to a block of cherry wood and the design is chiselled in.

Brenda Lerner, who coordinated the Maryland exhibit for the Bureau of Aging, hopes that it will inspire members of the senior centers to try the technique of wood block printing.

the Westminster center, program coordinator Charlene Fischer plans to add it to the art program.

"We're more directed toward painting and drawing," Ms. Fischer said. "But we're thinking of introducing a class in making wood block prints."

addition to the Japanese wood block prints, the walls at the Westminster center are covered with displays of pastels created by local seniors in classes taught by Shirley Lippy.

The exhibit at the senior centers is free and open to the public.

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