"Blue Bird #2 7/32"
Woodcut and Watercolor.
Image Size: 3.5" W x 2.5" H.
Framed Size: 10" W x 8" H.
Sylvia Pixley - Toledo Artist
The Process of Wood Engraving
I begin with sketches, photographs, and research materials to develop a working design. This design is transferred, in reverse to a very smooth end grain block of maple wood. I begin carving out the white areas with different sizes of wood engraving tools, called burins. They produce very narrow to very wide white lines. I have finished carving a block in a week, but it usually takes me three weeks for an average block. I complete 10-18 blocks a year. To print a proof (a sample), a brayer (roller) is used to spread a thin layer of oil-based printing ink on the surface of the block, coating the uncarved, raised areas. Paper is placed on top of the block and then I run a simple roller proof press over the top of the paper and block and may rub the corners with a wooden spoon. I work in small sizes; 2x3 inches to 5x7 inches. Each hand printed wood engraving is an original print. An edition is expressed in a fraction listed on the print: 5/25 is the 5th print signed of a total of 25. I normally print two editions (or more) from the same block, indicated in the title by #1 or #2. The first version is a 'plain' black and white print, the second edition is a black and white print painted with watercolor. A two-color reduction print starts with carving away the white area, printing a color, and then recarving the block, and printing the second (black) color. I mat and frame the prints myself using museum quality, all rag mat boards and black metal frames. The prints are attached using corners. I do all the artwork; my husband helps me as a business manager, transportation director, booth engineer, sales person, and general bottle washer.
Invitational and Juried Exhibitions, Awards
2013 Summerfair, Cincinnati, OH - Honorable Mention
2012 Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, Ann Arbor, MI - 2nd Place
2012 The Print Show, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor, MI - Best of Show
2012 - 2013 WEN Touring Exhibition
2012, 2013 Creede Small Print Traveling Show, Creede, CO
2010 Common Grounds, Birmingham - 3rd Place Award
2010 Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bowling Green, OH - Purchase Award
2009 Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bowling Green, OH - Best of Show
2008 Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bowling Green, OH - 3rd Place
2008 Arts, Beats & Eats, Pontiac, MI - 3rd Place Award
2007 Birmingham Fine Arts Festival, MI - 3rd Place Award
2006 KIA Art Fair, Kalamazoo, MI - 3rd Place Award
2005, 2006 Detroit Festival of Arts, Detroit, MI - Merit Award
2004 Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bowling Green, OH - Best of Show
2003 Black Swamp Arts Festival, Bowling Green, OH - Dorothy Uber Bryan Prize
2003 Summerfair, Cincinnati, OH - Honorable Mention
2002 The Print Show, Ann Arbor, MI - Honorable Mention
Monroe County Library System's Art in Loan Collection, MI
Monroe County Bedford Library's Collection, MI
Monroe County Community College Collection, MI
Minnesota Center for Books Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Princeton University Library, NJ
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
University of Findlay, Findlay, OH
Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor, MI
Wood Engravers' Network
All sales on original artwork are final. No discounts apply.