Thursday, 6 February 2014

Bird in a Block


The other week I made a very small foray into the world of wood engraving. Above is a little test block with a simple and spontaneous design. The actual printed image is about the size of a large postage stamp. Below you can see the block itself, with my hand for scale.


Wood engraving uses hardwoods such as boxwood and lemonwood, which take some getting used to, as the hardness which makes them wonderfully durable for printing also makes them a little difficult to carve. However, with a bit of practice it becomes easier to make satisfying marks and smooth lines.


This is also a type of printmaking that tends to be very tiny, because of the difficulty of obtaining larger pieces of suitable wood. It has mostly been used for book illustration in the past because it offers the possibility of printing large editions.


I have a few ideas brewing in the back of my mind for this new technique, but first a few more test blocks are in order I think.

9 comments:

  1. wow, i love this little bird!! what an intriguing method for a bird, you can simultaneously feel the "chunks" of the wood and the delicateness of the resulting feathers--and it's somehow more fascinating because of its size. what a treasure! you should use them as a signature of sorts, it would be ultra-cool :D

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  2. not to gush, but i love the way you "fit" the bird in there. so much character!

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  3. Having dabbled with lino, I have total respect for this - captivating - hope to see more.

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  4. It is so beautiful to see, in this kind of detail, the many parts that together make a whole ... but I am actually stopping by to pass along this link to an LRB article on the theme of home, because I remembered a comment of yours about your husband's work and thought it may be of interest (in case you haven't already seen it yourselves!)

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  5. I love how you've captured so much movement in sooo small a space - it makes me think immediately of a chick kicking free from its egg of wood ... will it find life upon the leaves of a book - I think it should*!*

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  6. Beautiful, expressive mark-making, and all at such an enchanting scale. Lovely work.

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  7. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments! I have been racing around so much this month, that I never quite made it back here to respond, but it was very cheering to have these little messages pop up in my inbox. And Ane, thank you for that link, I did pass it on. Wishing you all much joy and a happy March to come.

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