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The Art of Woodcuts

An intriguing woodworking project for the beginning or intermediate woodworker.

Tuition: $875

Materials: $68

Note: This is a five-day course ending Friday evening.

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. It 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.

Printing woodcut

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 introduce students to the proper use of carving tools, methods to sharpen them, and how to make a straight knife from a simple hacksaw blade. During the week, work will be done on both soft and hard woods, plywood, and 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.

Elements II photo

A trip to a nearby gallery that exhibits woodcuts and wood engravings by a number of local artists will be planned early in the week to expose students to a wide variety of styles. A visit to a handmade paper gallery will include a demonstration and a chance for each student to make a couple sheets of paper. After the paper dries, students will use it to print their own woodcuts.

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.

Gene Shaw is a natural teacher. He loves his subject, is very knowledgeable, well-prepared, and communicates well with each student no matter what level of experience they bring to the course. A wonderful week!”
A.S., Calais, Maine