Kukrudu, the title for this woodblock/zinc plate intaglio print, is a word coming from the Twe language in Ghana, meaning elephant to english speakers. While on travel to Ghana in 2004, I met with a woman named Veronica Dakpo who owns and runs a tie~n~dye batik fabric shop. She allowed me to stay and work with her. She introduced me to a batik process that uses a relief carved design in wood to stamp wax on fabric.
Being in Africa, I choose to carve an elephant’s head for a batik stamp design. By collaborating the basic geometric shape of a square and the elephant design allowed for repetition and balance in my composition. The stamp is repeated to cover the whole of the fabric. Then the fabric is dyed making for a beautiful creation.
Because the batik stamp is created very similar to a woodblock, I am able to create kukrudu as a print on paper. I used a zinc plate, etched using soft ground and cloth to give the paper a look of fabric.
Alternate color layers stimulate variations within the print. Blue, representing sky and brown representing earth has influenced the simplicity of this design. The viewer’s eye jumps from square to square, resting for a moment then moving sometimes diagonally, sometimes horizontally to another square. Off white thread sews together the repeating pattern, giving kukrudu the impression of a quilt.