Kawkab al-Sharq, Oum Kalthoum

We have the musical Artist, Camille and a mutual friend to thank for bringing us together 13 some years ago. Camille’s concert at Bimbos in San Francisco is where I first met Aïcha Idelcadi. In the years that followed we shared a mutual love and curiosity for Art, Music and the city of San Francisco.

Here is the story of our studio adventures in creating a woodcut reduction print of Egyptian singing legend, Oum Kalthoum. We began with an introduction to the reduction process through two color small rubber stamp prints. The whites of the pyramid are carved out first and the orange or green (we experimented with colors) first of two colors is printed. Once we have our goal of copies plus extras, we can carve out the previously printed base or first color (orange/green in our case). what remains on our rubber block is the relief (ink accepting surface) of the second/final color which in our case is green and blue.

Rubber Stamp reduction prints by Aicha Idelcadi and Nathalie Roland

Rubber Stamp reduction prints by Aicha Idelcadi and Nathalie Roland

Once we had a basic understanding of the reduction process, we began imagining our 7”x7” woodcut reduction print. Idelcadi brought the idea of an Oum Kalthoum image to the studio. (Read more about her idea- will link to interview here) We did some research of Egyptian motifs and exchanged more about the extraordinary life of Oum Kalthoum. Eventually we came up with this drawing that incorporated an Egyptian floral motif and a geometric star which appears in the decorative patterns of the Middle East as a nod to one of her many titles, “The Star of the East” or “L'étoile de l'Orient”. We used an old photo as reference and the sphinx by her side for her homeland and additional title “The Voice of Egypt

Our line drawing, our draft of color separation, some drawing ideas and previous drafts.

Once we established our line drawing and image goal, transferred the drawing to wood and began carving out the white parts including highlights on her face and the star band behind her. After the highlight areas were carved out , we could print the first yellow gradation color. After we had printed more than 28 (our target goal for the edition) we carved away the yellow parts of the same block of wood. Thus, leaving the raised wood surface to be inked with the final green color.


“Kawkab al-Sharq, Oum Kalthoum” Woodcut reduction print. Carved and printed by Aïcha Idelcadi and Nathalie Roland in San Francisco, California. Image 7”x7” on 10”x10” paper. Edition of 28. Available for purchase here.

Moon Jar

After working together closely 5 days a week, for 3 years on books at the Arion Press, it was pretty exciting to work with Artist Rochelle Youk on a collaborative print in a whole new environment at Sunset Paperworks. We share an affinity for repetitive tasks and eating good food. Her beautifully crafted work explores identity through modern examinations of Korean folk Art. See more of her work on her website here.

We began our collaboration with an introduction to the reduction process via a small three color stamp reduction pictured below.  After the initial white areas are carved out from the stamp, the first yellow color is printed. From that same stamp the yellow is carved out and the orange is printed, followed by removal of the orange and printing the deep green.

As we contemplated plans for our woodcut print it became clear that we would deviate from the reduction model and do a single pass with a gradation ink roll and paint in the second color. Carving out so much of the block for such a tiny print area wasn't efficient and we could get more variation in the colored lines by painting them in with acrylic gouache.

Here is our finished print “Moon Jar” woodcut with hand coloring. Image 7" X 7". Paper 10" x 10". Edition of 28.  Carved and printed by Rochelle Youk and Nathalie Roland in San Francisco, CA. Available for purchase here

“Moon Jar” Woodcut by Rochelle Youk and Nathalie Roland

“Moon Jar” Woodcut by Rochelle Youk and Nathalie Roland

Thank you very much to Rochelle for participating in our ongoing collaborative print series. We look forward to seeing more of your work and hope you will return to Sunset Paperworks for more printmaking experiments in the future.

Whale Magic

We have Anthony Skirvin of Ape Do Good screen printing to thank for introducing us to Jeana Hadley.  We are fans of the nautical themes in her music posters and design work at Sea Level Studio, as well as the fantastic music shows she organized at 3 fish studios.  

We share an appreciation for our Sunset neighborhood, the music of Farallons, and Fort Funston.

We began our studio collaboration with an introduction to the reduction process via tiny stamp prints.  Below you see the first of three colors in Hadley's HighFive Stamp along side the finished image.  The final stamp print is a three color reduction, with each color carved from the same small stamp block. 

"High Five" Stamp reduction print by Jeana Hadley.

"High Five" Stamp reduction print by Jeana Hadley.

Next, we embarked on our woodcut reduction print.  Pictures below document the process in which we worked out some ideas and colors in paint, began carving the first color, printed the first color.  After printing more than we needed of the first color, we carved out the second color from the same block and printed.

"Whale Magic" woodcut reduction print by Jeana Hadley and Nathalie Roland

"Whale Magic" woodcut reduction print by Jeana Hadley and Nathalie Roland

"Whale Magic" Woodcut reduction print. Image 7" X 7". Paper 10" x 10". Edition of 28.  Carved and printed by Jeana Hadley and Nathalie Roland in San Francisco, CA.  Available for purchase here.  All profits from this print sale will be donated to Surfrider foundation.

A big high Five and Thank you to Jeana for being our second collaborator in this print series experiment.  We look forward to seeing more of her work and in design and music events.

The Bloody Blue Moon

After many years of exchanging Art via the mail and seeing each other in person for brief moments here and there, Ria Rajan and I finally had some time in San Francisco to work on a print together.  She is an Artist working in Bangalore, New York, Oakland and San Francisco. Her ability to embrace digital technologies as easily as analog methods has always impressed me.  She is unburdened by conventions and always eager to learn new things.  

We share a love for the moon and an interest in sorcery.  We have been bonding over the exercises in Sarah Faith Gottesdiener's Many Moons Workbook.  After an enthusiastic exchange of our lunar eclipse experiences, it seemed quite natural for us to agree upon the Moon as the subject of our print together.

We began by introducing Rajan to the reduction process through small rubber stamping experiments.  From there we began carving the first color from the woodblock, printing, then carving the second color from the same woodblock and printing until we had completed our print. (See slideshow below)

This is the first collaborative woodcut print produced by Sunset Paperworks. It is our hope, as Damon and I continue to build this space, that this will be the first of many collaborations to come.  Thank you to Ria Rajan for being the first Artist to embark upon this experiment, it was a pleasure working with you.  I look forward to our continued Bangalore and San Francisco exchange - #BLR_SFO

"The Bloody Blue Moon" Woodcut reduction print. Image 7" X 7". Paper 10" x 10". Edition of 28.  Carved and printed by Nathalie Roland and Ria Rajan in San Francisco, CA. 


The print is available for purchase here.  Read an interview with Ria Rajan here.   -Nathalie Roland

Get Free

In 2012 I quit my main job as a contractor for music media companies to focus more on Art and Craft.  Shortly after making this decision I had a funny dream (illustrated below).  A weary and discombobulated carousel horse wandered into the bedroom.  It stopped in front of me and its eyes looked sad and tired.   "It's ok. Are you tired?" I said to it as I lifted the covers and moved away from the edge to make room.  The horse got into the bed and I covered it with the blanket.  


After this dream I began carving the woodblock for the "Get Free" print.  While I worked on other woodblocks and drawings in my own studio, I lent my hands at Yellow Owl Workshop, Ape do good print shop and the last 3 years as a bookbinder at Arion Press.  Six years after the dream, I have quit my full time job at Arion and moved my old studio into a new studio and printmaking  space Damon and I are building out.  This is the first block I have printed in the new spot we are calling Sunset Paperworks.

"Get Free" Woodcut print. Image 7" X 7". Paper 10" x 10". Varied Edition of 25 in sunset (pictured below), yellow and pink.  Carved and printed by Nathalie Roland in San Francisco.  


For all the destructive cycles you wish to break, for conformity you wish to evade, for the independent ideals you aspire to, let this little horse inspire you to get free.