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.


Beth Z said...

love the water. water can be such a puzzle to convey, especially at its edges. i also love how you stay committed to the process. this block looks great!

Magic Cochin said...

I love your new project - 17th C wood block prints are one of my inspirtaions!

Have you traced your roots in England? Perhaps you'd like to look at this http://www.nationaltrustnames.org.uk/

Try typing in 'Bissett', there are lots of people with that name around Plymouth, Devon!

Roots are special - I'm sure there's an inherited creativity that links through the generations. You stumple upon something that strikes a chord and then find out there's a genetic link!

I'm so looking forward to seeing where the ship take you.


Tibi said...

Looks quite interesting so far. I like how you research so meticulously the many things that are included in each print.

Out of curiosity, how big is the actual ship (the carving)? How wide are each of the small incisions on the side of the ship?


Pistoles Press said...

*Sigh* How I love seeing unprinted blocks! Whatever! I love seeing messy inked up blocks too! Great job! The block is such a work of art in and of itself. I can't wait to see how this one will look printed up!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Yummy boat, will there be a dialog between Obama and ancestors???

Andy English said...

I am constantly impressed by the quality of your fine cutting. Very much looking forwards to seeing this one develop.

I have had a rehang in the studio and your Tea print was the first back on the wall.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the block is sooo beautiful....
Lynn Starun

Annie B said...

I'm so glad you guys like this!
*Beth, yes -- water is so hard to depict. I took a cue here from an old woodcut I found.
*Celia, I've traced a couple of lines back to England, but just to the generation that emigrated and no farther. It would be interesting to keep going.
*Tibi, how's life in South America?! Nice to hear from you. This carving is about 8 inches high.
*Lana - isn't a carved block delicious!
*Diana, I'm sure that there will be some airing of family matters. Some of those may have something to do with Obama, we'll see.
*Andy & Lynn thank you so much. Andy, I don't know how you carve what you carve. I'm working about 10 times larger than you do and I can barely see what I'm doing :)

Cre8tive Girl said...

This so so awesome I had to blog about your great work! Thanks for sharing:)

Annie B said...

Thanks, Cre8tive Girl!

Marissa L. Swinghammer said...

Lovely to learn about your heritage. And your attention to detail is as impressive as ever.

Saw the proofs too, looking great!

Annie B said...

Thank you, Marissa!