The Wood Engravers’ Network (WEN) seeks to further public recognition and appreciation of the art of wood engraving, its practice and history as art, illustration, graphic design, and in printing. Its goals are to provide educational and exhibition opportunities in addition to increased public access to this historic process.
Wood engraving is a relief printmaking process (like letterpress, stamps, woodcuts and linoleum cuts) where ink is rolled onto a raised, uncut surface and pressure is applied to transfer the ink to paper or fabric. A relief reductive technique, wood engraving employs tools called burins, which remove wood fibers from the end grain of a woodblock (picture the rings of the tree — that’s end grain). Wood engraving allows a variety of cutting styles because it can reproduce very small details and does not compete with the grain of the wood. It is extremely durable, employed historically for book illustration in publications as well as limited edition prints. It has a most interesting history of usage as well as an active contemporary application.