The making of a 'reduction' woodblock print

(entry by Andrea Rich)

Editor's note: Details are difficult to see in these small thumbnails. Clicking on any one of them will pop up a larger view ...

Three blocks will be used in the production of this print. Here on the right, is an impression of block #1 - a simple blank smooth area, printed with a gradated tint. All copies of the edition are printed with this block, which will then be re-carved for the next step.

This is the same block, now carrying the general outline of the image, and partially carved. Only the upper part is used, to produce the multi-coloured gradated background you see on the right.

This is still block #1, with more detail carved out of the background, and another gradation added.

The same block yet again, carved in still more detail. Note that each time any block is used, subsequent printings are always in a deeper tone than earlier printings.

Here is block #2, containing trees, reflections, and the body of the bison. For the first impression from this block, the body of the bison was not inked.

Block #2 is not finished yet, but it is now the turn of block #3. For this first impression from #3, the near bank was not used - only the far side of the stream was inked.

Back to block #2. The body of the bison was carefully cut out with a scroll saw, inked separately from the tree shapes, and replaced before printing the impression.

Block #3 again. The middle and lower sections appear in different colours because they are separated by enough distance to allow them to be inked separately.

More detail of the foliage has been carved into block #3, and it is printed in a deeper colour.

Back to the bison segment from block #2. It is carved with textural detail, and then screwed to a base plate to hold it firmly for printing.

The finished print, of course, can never be re-editioned, as the blocks were destroyed by the reduction process.

Editor's Note: Please visit the Author's web site to see more images of her woodblock prints.

This page Copyright Andrea Rich 1998