Growing up in Tokyo, my love of printmaking began early. I always admired the dexterity and artistry of ukiyoe prints, traditional woodblock prints from Japan. In Tokyo I studied sculpture at Tama Art University in Japan, and then, after moving to California, studied classical music and modern American and Japanese history at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 1996, as I worked as freelance writer, I founded with my husband, Bruce Smith, The Arts & Crafts Press in Berkeley. We were very influenced by the ideals of the Arts & Crafts movement, which advocated that each object should have functional beauty as William Morris eloquently advocated more than a century ago. With the help of great mentors in Berkeley, CA, I taught myself the art and craft of bockprinting & letterpress printing.
For my limited-edition prints, I first creates a set of designs and drawings. After the design is final, then I carve woodblocks and linoleum blocks. After carving ten to twenty of these blocks (one block for each color), I hand-mixes oil-based inks and print each color separately using the hand-carved blocks. I use an old antique Vandercook printing press for printing, layering as many as twenty colors per print to achieve the desired brilliant colors.
My work is shown in many galleries nationwide and have been featured in various TV shows and periodicals, most notably PBS’s award-winning documentary program “Craft in America”.
Visit Yoshiko on Facebook here: Yoshiko Yamamoto
or check out her website: www.artsandcraftspress.com