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Tim and I are on the train heading to the Kumano Kodo  for a 7 day adventure that Tim has planned and booked. The Kumano Kodo is an ancient and very famous pilgrimage; we will pass Shrines, temples and finally Japan's largest waterfall. There is a river half way through the walk of volcanic water called the thousand people bath.  Tim has booked accommodation in a different guest house each night and has arranged for our luggage to be sent on for us.  We will walk from one guest house to the next on a route that the Japanese have taken for over 1,000 years. I think it's going to be tough - lots of very steep climbing and old steps through the forest. I hope we don’t get lost; I’m a bit scared as the days are very short now so we don’t have that long to walk in day light. But Tim has printed off lots of maps and assures me it will be alright.
We have just come from Naoshima having spent 3 nights there. Naoshima is a small island off the south coast of Japan and a very special pla…
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Our time at Mi-Lab is almost over and we're all sitting in the library, chatting and looking through books. Today at lunch everyone was very quiet and It felt sad that our time together is really coming to an end.  The six of us have worked together, eaten together at breakfast lunch and dinner, and gone off on adventures at the weekend.  I'm so lucky that I ended up on this course with such a great bunch of people. 

On Sunday I made a plan for the week ahead; to spend each day making prints from each of the three images I've carved during my time here.  In the evening I cut sheets of Japanese paper to soak over night so that the paper is moist enough to print on Monday and Tuesday. But I underestimated how long it would take me to make the prints and definitely overestimated how much paper I would need. I had lots of ideas of colour combinations I wanted to try out, but I only managed 4 prints on Monday - but I'm really pleased with them. These prints are rich and dark…
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Today is Thursday and I have exactly 7 days left of my residency.  It seems clear to me that I’ve made big steps of progress each week from one artwork to the next. But this week feels like the first time that I'm really excited about the piece I’m making, really engaged with the subject matter.  Towards the end of last week I had the idea to base my next print on a tourist brochure about Kawaguchi, for tourists coming to experience Mt Fuji and on Saturday I took a cable-car up to the top of a mountain in the centre of Kawaguchi town to look out over the view of where I'm staying – the lake, town and mountains. I had my eyes pealed for a leaflet or poster with images of Mount Fuji plus Japanese text.   Quick digression - having taken the cable-car and whilst I was at the top of the mountain snapping pictures of Mt Fuji and Kawaguchiko town and lake I saw a sign at the entrance to a foot path saying 6 HOUR WALKING TREK, BE PREPARED TO RETURN BEFORE DUSK. WALK AT YOUR OWN DANGER. …
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It's now Wednesday of the 3rd week here and I think I'm just about at the half way point of the residency. It's honestly taken the last two weeks to get settled here and now I'm feeling the pressure, that if I blink, the whole thing will be over before I know it.  In all truth the main thought I'm having is HOW INCREDIBLY LUCKY AM I TO BE HERE!  Now that I really feel at home in this house amongst the other artists and I've got past the initial learning of Mokuhanga, I'm really loving my time here. It's a very special experience; life is incredibly simple compared to life in London.  There is no commute to work and just a desk to work at (though none of the presses and equipment that I'm used to). However I do feel exhausted and the days are flying past. I start at 6am and I'm asleep by 11pm. I try to get a run in every other day down by the lake otherwise I think I'd get cabin fever in the house/studio - all being under one roof. I think I na…