May is a flowering time, and nothing suits frames better than flowers. Two prints to recently come through the shop inspired carved flowers in the frames. The iris (unsigned) is a Japanese woodblock, and the figure is a copper etching by Yuji Hiratsuka, a Japanese American artist now living and teaching in Oregon.
The Iris is tiny—only about 4″ x 6″ but extremely well done. The 1/2″ wide frame is in walnut with a very dilute black stain. With a Japanese v-tool I carved iris pedals near the top of each side. The bottom face and the sides up to the flowers are lightly tooled with a gouge for a texture that contrasts with the smooth top section.
Flowers are a frequent theme in Yuji Hiratsuka‘s work. This piece, titled “Fan Art In Front of Mirror,” features a variety of small delicate blossoms which were perfect—even down to their scale—for adorning the 3/4″ wide frame. And given how colorful the print is, I decided to paint the flowers. The print’s playful quality seemed to call for placing the flowers randomly. The basic profile of the mahogany frame is our No. 15, which is a flat with narrow fillets on the inside and outside. A simple choice, it echoes the frame on the mirror as well as the stripes on the woman’s clothing.