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Friday, March 11, 2016

What I Learned From Woodblock Printing


I took a course in woodblock printing once. Above is a woodblock I made depicting the lifesaving station at Sandy Hook, N.J. During the semester, I carved out two other woodblocks. I took the course at night in Jersey City, forty-five minutes from my family home via the Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. I worked teaching first-graders during the day. 

As I was happily carving away at my pine board one night, the professor announced the time for class was almost over. I was working on one section and I wanted to finish it before I had to leave. I dug out slices of wood more quickly and less carefully. My hand slipped. I was using so much force, my hand--with the knife in it--hit the stone table, bounced, and hit my thigh. 

Yipes! One of the other students gave me some BandAids. I quickly cleaned up and drove home. However, the wound continued to ooze. On the way home, I decided a trip to the ER was in order. So I stopped in at the local hospital near home and got a few stitches. 

The wound healed, but I had a hole in my favorite jeans. I embroidered a purple heart on the spot where the knife dug into my thigh. 

I learned two lessons from the incident. The first is that I should never rush to finish anything with a knife in my hand. Second, I decided that woodblock printing was not where my passion lies. I enjoy painting and sketching so much more. But most of all, I love writing. :-)

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