Martín Vinaver, an artist originally from Xalapa, studied traditional Japanese woodblock printing (Moku Hanga) in Tokyo in the workshop of the master printmaker Tsukasa Yoshida, son of the famous artist Toshi Yoshida and grandson of the even more renowned artist Hiroshi Yoshida. During the four years he studied there, Vinaver realized that in order to practice Moku Hanga in Mexico all the necessary materials would need to be imported, with the high costs this implies, and he set about researching how to adapt the technique to the materials available in Mexico.
The exacting design of the Japanese chisels have been reproduced by Mexican craftsmen. The bamboo used for making the baren has been identified, planted in Mexico and tested. The water-based pigments have been prepared with natural earths and rice-based thickener together with a natural fungicide. The plants used for making kozo paper (known as rice paper) have been brought to Mexico and are currently being grown. The full “Mexicanization” of moku hanga is thus close to completion, making one of the finest technique in Oriental printmaking available to Western artists
His research has led him to seek advice from specialists in the field, including:
Professor Tsukasa Yoshida – Tokyo
Cindy Bowden, Robert Williams Paper Museum – Atlanta, Georgia
Professor Steve Miller – University of Alabama
Glenn House – discoverer of kozo in the USA
Professor Timothy Barrett – Iowa University
Dr. Andrés Vovides – INECOL, Xalapa, Ver.
Dra. Citlalli López Binquist – author of The Endurance of Mexican Amate Paper
Dr. Martín Mata Rosas – tissue culture laboratory, INECOL, Xalapa, Veracruz
Biologist Alberto Valenzuela – researcher and paper manufacturer, Oaxaca
Biologist William Lagunes – specialist in bamboo
Biologist Alejandra Ortizmena – specialist in bamboo
Raúl Díaz Martínez – fibers and paper, Tlaxcala