Millstone Grit – Wood Engraving

Around the Derbyshire edge of Sheffield there are several places where millstones were quarried and made. This is an early attempt to capture the atmosphere of one of these now wild places, once busy industrial sites, now a home only for wildlife, here a pair of pheasants startled into their clattering screeching flight. Thought it might be interesting to compare this with the existing woodblock on which I cut it. Looking at it now, it looks like I was unhappy with the hint of sky and the shrub on the right(obviously the block is reversed). It’s a pity that some of the blacks are a bit faint as now I think I prefer the original and that can never be repeated, but that’s the way of things with wood-engraving, once the cut is made it can’t be reversed!
For those interested, here are the tools I used along with the block for the hare engraving in an earlier post.Since you are working with endgrain wood, the shapes you get sometimes are curious, and images suggest themselves to fit the round edges of the block.
The tools are as follows left to right – a scorper fot thickish square lines, a bullsticker (!) for thick straight lines which begin thin, and a spitsticker for curves. This close-up of the hare block should illustrate some of the possible shapes.The lines in the hare’s nose are made with the spitsticker, as they thicken as the cut is made, as do the blades of grass. The larger areas of white are done with the scorper. I suspect the stippling effects are the bullsticker and the spitsticker.
It’s along time since i actually did any of this stuff, as it is time consuming, and as with anything, you have to keep up to speed, but if anyone is interested in printmaking on a small scale, something that can be done at home, the tools aren’t too expensive, (the blocks aren’t cheap however) and the printing can be done without a press.
Mor information here.

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4 Responses to Millstone Grit – Wood Engraving

  1. The Duchess says:

    Woodcuts always seem like magic, it seems impossible to draw so finely by cutting away a big solid block of something, rather than stroking gently at it with a pen. Seeing the tools makes the process a little more within reach. Beautiful work. x

  2. kofegeek says:

    Oh God, this is beautiful

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