Saturday, 9 April 2011
On the 16th April The Winds of Change Gallery will be starting It's Wood Engraving Exhibition. ( Wood engraving is produced by cutting a design into the end grain of a tightly grained wood such as Box. Wood cuts are usually cut designs into the length of the grain.)
Years ago while I was at college I decided to have a go at Wood engraving. A friend had a good friend called Kathy Lindsay, still a very good engraver....and I was inspired. I was told to go to T.N.Lawrence in Bleeding Heart Yard, London.T.N.Lawrence were manufacturers of Boxwood printing blocks and also supplied other equipment...In Dickens's Day Bleeding Heart yard was a court made up of factories and overcrowded dwellings for struggling working class families. It features in Little Dorrit as the home of the Plornish Family. Greville Street links the yard to Another street and Saffron Hill the home of Fagin.
Anyway, i was told that it was quite hard to get in so as I was looking a postman came out of the door so I shot in and went up the wooden stairs. At the top of the stairs was a little room and there was Stanley Lawrence. An elderly man with a big smile. He was so helpful to me telling me which tools I needed and showing me pictures. In the end he gave me some extra tools , some box wood and a couple of little books featuring well known wood engravers!I still have the tools, books and a couple of the blocks that he gave me. ( the picture above is only 3inches high.) I feel guilty that I only did a few but there's still time for me to try again.
One coincidence was a man in the street where I lived in Cheltenham produced the lead type at The Whittington Press, just up the road towards Andoversford. I went over to watch..wish I had had a digital camera then....not..don't wear open toed sandals while watching hot lead being poured ! The next coincidence was that Mr Lawrences grandson had a book published by the Whittington press as a present for his eightieth birthday. It is called 'Tales of Bleeding Heart Yard' stories about Stanley Lawrence, written by Simon Lawrence. I'd love to see it one day .