In 1994, Jim Horton contacted wood engravers from all over the United States and invited them to meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the first time forming a new organization called the Wood Engravers’ Network (WEN). The group pursues communication, encouragement, and education in this historic, yet contemporary relief medium.
WEN publishes the biannual journal called the Block & Burin, a website, a membership booklet, exhibition catalogs, and occasionally special collaborative projects like fine press books of members’ original prints called Here We Are, and Surroundings.
WEN also sponsors traveling wood engraving exhibits. Contact Joanne Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information about hosting a wood engraving exhibition.
A tradition from the beginning, WEN’s week-long summer workshops are an annual highlight of the group, featuring activities that are part social, part educational and part dedicated work-time. An especially coveted feature of the workshops is the saturation in wood engraving among practicing artists and the free and open exchange of ideas, tips and tricks of the trade. Usually one or two members endeavor to organize a summer workshop in their location and invite a wood engraving artist as a featured guest and organize activities that they feel the group will enjoy. Activities include visits to museum print and rare book library collections, print or letterpress establishments – or really, anything of interest to artists. Usually there is time for folks to engrave, draw or interact freely.
“As a workshop participant and organizer, I have learned more about wood engraving at the WEN workshops than I have anywhere else! And since most colleges and universities aren’t teaching the process it really is like going to school for most people who have taught themselves or taken a short weekend workshop in wood engraving. Seasoned engravers are always sure to see or hear something new.” Joanne Price
WEN sponsors a guest artist who speaks to the group and participates in the activities. British engraver Mariam McGregor joined us in 2013 at the Printing Museum in Andover, Massachusetts. WEN members journeyed to England in May 2014 to visit members of the Society of Wood Engravers, Thomas Bewick’s (father of wood engraving) birthplace, Whittington Press and many artists, museums and other sights. Late summer 2014 (WEN’s 20th Anniversary), Jim Horton offered a workshop at his home in Ann Arbor, MI bringing the tradition full circle, where Jim gathered wood engravers together for the first time in 1994. In 2015 we met at the Morgan Paper Conservancy in Cleveland, Ohio where Canadian artist, Wesley Bates, was our guest. We look forward to 2016’s workshop where Mirka Hokkanen invites us to explore the world of wood engraving in Texas.