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Spend a holiday-week morning immersed in the world of wood engraving with Tony Drehfal, the Bloedel Reserve's visiting artist for the month of December. His free presentation promises to be of particular interest to printmakers, woodworkers and anyone captivated by the incredible detail possible with this art form.
The presentation is free but please register. Feel free to bring a guest! When you register please indicate in the box provided if you will be bringing a guest.
Hailing from northern Wisconsin, Tony Drehfal has been creating nature-themed wood engravings for nearly 20 years, ever since he attended a week-long class in West Virginia and began to tap into the resources offered by the Wood Engravers Network. You can see examples of his work at his website, www.tonydrehfal.com.
Wood engraving developed as a craft toward the end of the 18th century as a way to add detailed illustrations to letterpress prints. Unlike regular woodcuts, which are cut into the sides of boards, wood engravings are made into the end grain of very dense wood, such as English boxwood or holly. Instead of using regular woodcarving tools, wood engravers use tools called burins, which are like those used to engrave metal. Wood engravers usually carve blocks 0.918 of an inch thick, the height of metal type. That allows the engravings to be set alongside type in letterpress printing (including the letterpress at BARN).
Drehfal will show examples of his work and that of other engravers as he discusses the history of the craft and where it is headed now. He'll also explain some of the tools that engravers use, including spitstickers (a kind of burin) and leather-covered sandbags, which support wood blocks during engraving.