A few years ago, I took up woodcutting and block printing, but I don’t seem to have shared that here. I was inspired by Cesare Vecellio’s (wiki) fashion woodcuts in Habiti Antichi et Moderni to make a personal token depicting Florentine fashion. Many artisans give out a token at A&S competitions and displays to encourage and reward work well done. Oftentimes, these are buttons, beads, cabochons or other small items. My favorites have the name attached so I can remember who inspired me to try harder.
My Laurel’s token is such a perfect representation of her and her art, that I wanted to come up with something that really related to mine. My mind kept coming back to the woodcuts and finally I mentioned it to my Laurel, who directed me to someone with experience in woodcutting.
My first token was based on Alessandro Allori’s Maria de Medici, approx 1555, located in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. (I’m not going to discuss whether or not Maria or Isabella are the true sitter, or if this is from the master himself or his studio.) I began by tracing the painting, then cleaning it up and re-drawing parts to better define the woodcut. I added a border, traced the drawing onto the block and began cutting. A test print enabled me to see where additional cutting was required, and the final token was cut to size. I wrote a personal note on the back of the token.
These tokens were first presented at St. Elegius 2014, while the token below was first used for St. Elegius 2015.
The second token was based on Allori’s Bianca Capello de Medici, at the Dallas Museum of Art. The same process was used as the above token, however details of the print were first machine printed on the back, before the image was printed.
I also did a print this year for a friend’s elevation to Laurel. I traced & drew the image based on multiple photos in the same outfit. This was only my third carving and the first based on a photograph. I also tried coloring my first print, using watercolors applied thickly.