Wren

A wood engraving on a boxwood round printed with Hawthorns Stay Open Dense Black Ink on 145 gsm Zerkall print paper on an antique 1892 Albion press at Omega Printmakers in Southsea.

This print has been selected for the exhibition ‘Nature Prints and Poems’, at the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) in Aberlady, near Edinburgh, to be held from 8 June to 31 July 2022.

This print was inspired by a poem of the same title by Scottish poet Richard Price and the little wren that flits around our great white cherry tree in our garden. I had been thinking about engraving a wren when I saw an open call in the Journal of the Society of Wood Engravers, which I subscribe to, for prints inspired by poems for the exhibition ‘Nature Prints and Poems’, mentioned above. I love haiku poems, and although this is not strictly one I love the simplicity of Richard’s poem and how it captures the fleeting glimpse you get of these shy little birds so well.

I have not engraved using boxwood before so this was very much a leap of faith – you cannot easily rectify any mistake you make so it needed very careful planning and engraving. I also have not engraved a bird before nor cherry blossom but there are a few wood engravings that I have studied in the development of the design. One of these is ‘Sparrowhawk’, a wood engraving by the master wood engraver Colin See-Paynton. I saw this print at an excellent exhibition in December 2021 at Salisbury Museum and loved the way he portrayed the background scene of blossom flowers. Another print that I have much admired is ‘Genkuro Kitsune’ by the Japanese wood engraver Osamu Saito, which has a wonderful ‘shower’ of blossom flowers covering the block.

Edition size: 50 (plus 5 no. artist’s proof)

Image size: 124 x 106 mm approx.

Paper size: 190 x 265 mm

Price: £100 (sold unmounted)