18 November 2008
During this long presidential campaign, as one difficult and contentious issue after another arose, I found myself wondering what my ancestors would have thought about all of this. I come from a New England family that traces its ancestry back to the Plymouth Colony. My branch of the family ended up in rural Vermont in two small towns, Rockingham and Saxtons's River, that lie about an hour north from where I now live. Most of my Vermont forbears survived as farmers, merchants and clergymen. It's a genealogical treasure trove to visit these towns, as I can study 200 years of my lineage just by visiting a couple of cemeteries.
The older I get the more I realize how deeply I carry these people within me, so now that the election is over and I can breathe again, I'm exploring the idea of doing a series of prints about my pilgrim people. I plan to use images carved in the style of 17th century engravings and woodcuts and I decided to start at the beginning with the Mayflower.
I made a drawing with a Sharpie so the lines would be bold and rougher than my style tends to be, then scanned it, reversed it and pasted it on a block. After I finished carving and washed off the paper sketch, I saw that I wasn't finished - many of the cut lines needed to be widened, so I went back and carved again:
Tomorrow I'll proof this block.