Learn from the Masters at the 2021 International Mokuhanga Conference

It takes a lifetime to understand the ideas and techniques associated with woodblock printing. For example, some techniques like knife sharpening can be so hard to grasp that people stop making woodblock prints once their knives dull. Fortunately, such skills can be a thrill to learn, especially when you’re in the presence of a master. 

For years wrapping barens was an act of frustration for me. It felt as if I was wasting time and money on every failed attempt. Then in 2019, Meg and I had the privilege to learn baren wrapping from Hidehiko Goto, a master baren-wrapper in Ōiso, Japan. During that session, my years of frustration became investments of experience. 

Also, Meg is much better than me when it comes to baren wrapping. 

You’ll have the chance to watch and learn virtually from such master artisans when you register for SUMI-FUSION: Mokuhanga & Nara.

These master craftsmen dedicate their lives and careers to keeping the traditional aspects of mokuhanga alive. They also innovate on the craft with new technologies and ideas for future generations.

All you have to do is register for the conference on their website. You’ll receive an up-to-date schedule for the in-person and virtual events. Then you can pour a cup of tea while you learn from the best in the world. 

Learning from Gotosan was thrilling; it made me appreciate all the details that make the perfect object that is the baren.

I chose to sponsor the 2021 International Mokuhanga Conference, so you have the same opportunity to learn as I did. 

Because working with dull tools is no fun.

And when you know how to maintain your tools, they’ll feel even more like an extension of your body. 

Meg & Charles after hours of baren wrapping at the instruction of Hidehiko Goto

The baren is the eyes of the printer

Conference Time and Dates

This year, the conference takes place from Dec 1 – 3rd in Nara, Japan, and Virtually on a 48 hour rolling basis in three time zones. 

Below are some of the workshops and events I’m looking forward to most. You can find the complete list of events on the IMC Website. 


  • Printing the Deepest Black: Hidehiko Goto
  • Wrapping a Baren: Hidehiko Goto
  • Sharpening Carving Tools: Shoichi Kitamura: Master Carver
  • A Traditional Brushmaker in Asakusa: The Miyagawa (Hake) Brush Shop
  • Printing with Water: Chen Xiaofeng: Artist
  • Improvisational Mokuhanga: Aleksander Wozniak
  • The Baren – Understanding the Purpose of Different Barens: Roslyn Kean Artist

You can read all about the demonstrations here. 

Ready to learn with the masters? Buy mokuhanga supplies