At our October meeting, we were delighted to have Jeslyn Kate Cantrell, a Concord resident artist and illustrator, give us an exciting demonstration of the woodcut printing process. She works with a reductive technique - which requires her to visualize her drawings in reverse - and it also allows her to use just one sheet of wood per illustration.
After designing her illustration on paper, she transfers it to a wood block and uses carving tools to gouge away the surface around her design in stages. Starting with the lightest color first, she creates the raised areas she needs and prints that color on to a few sheets of paper. Then she has to carve away the first area in order to create the next color relief - that's what makes it a reductive technique. By the time she carves and prints the final color, her wood block is essentially ruined - which means her woodcut prints are always created as limited releases.
Since the carving between stages takes time, for the purposes of this demo, she had pre-carved three separate pieces of wood to show how to lay down the inks in this order - green, gray and black - to achieve the final print. For each stage, she has to keep the paper carefully aligned on the wood block so the colors register together properly.
CAA meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month (1-3pm) at the Concord Library and the public is always welcome!