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Woodcut is a ‘relief’ printing technique where the artist carves away a design and ink is applied to the remaining flat area. Used for centuries as a method for printing on textiles, and later paper, throughout East Asia and especially Japan, it spread to Europe in the late 13th century.

To produce a woodcut print, the artist creates an image on the surface of a block of wood and any unwanted areas are carved away. Ink is applied over the surface with a rubber roller and the design printed onto paper. Multiple colours can be added, each one applied using a separate wood block. To ensure each colour appears in the same place, the paper or cloth is keyed to a frame around each block.

Woodcut is favoured by many artists for the earthy and textural quality the grain of wood leaves on the image.

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