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The Art of Woodcuts

An intriguing woodworking project for the beginning or intermediate woodworker.

September 15 – September 21
Brooklin, Maine
Gene Shaw
Experience Level
Activity Level

This is a five-day course ending Friday

Woodcut printmaking is a relief-printing art technique in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges, knives, and chisels. The technique was created in about 1400 in Europe and, throughout time, has gone through various levels of technical and artistic development among woodworkers around the world.

Gene Shaw, artist and master woodworker, has designed this captivating course for individuals interested in learning how to create black-and-white woodcut prints. On Monday morning, Gene will review students’ image ideas, help select an appropriate wood block, and show how to transfer the image onto a block. An introduction to cutting techniques, blade-sharpening, tool tune-up, and making a straight knife from a simple hacksaw blade will round out the day. During the week, work will be done on both soft and hard woods, plywood, or linoleum blocks. There will also be an introduction to various papers, inks, and brayers. Printing will be by hand using a traditional Japanese barren (of several types) or a bamboo paddle, the instructor’s favorite. Around mid-week, a trip to a nearby gallery that exhibits woodcuts and wood engravings by a number of local artists will be planned to expose students to a wide variety of styles.

Anyone interested in woodcarving and woodworking will be fascinated by this week with Gene, a very talented craftsman and artist. By the end of the course, everyone will have achieved a solid foundation for designing and producing high-quality woodcut prints in a small space using quality tools and materials.

  • Who is this course best suited for?

    This course is appropriate for someone with little or no experience.  The course is designed around the idea that you have not done this before or know very little about the subject.  Students should pay more attention to suggested readings or videos to help familiarize themselves ahead of time.

    This course involves a low level of activity throughout the week including: occasional standing and working, seating is usually available, working on your own project at your own pace is common.

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