On Woodblock Carving – An Artist’s Statement

Drawing never quite worked for me. The infinite possibilities were exhausting, does the line go here, or here? Wood necessitates commitment. Once you carve it, the line will forever be there, motionless and unchanging. It requires your complete attention, no corner of the woodblock can remain unaddressed. The printing process of taking a carved block and transferring it to paper remains, even after 20 years of printmaking, delightful in its surprise. I’m never entirely sure how it’s going to turn out. Woodblock prints, by their very nature, are bold and graphic, something I could never capture with pen and ink. The surety of the lines made by stainless steel tools are so different from my own shaky pencil strokes. Regardless of where the prints find themselves, I keep the sturdy blocks as reminders of the their transformation to paper and a diary of sorts of my experiences with the natural world.

Artist Bio:
Blue Butterfield is a woodblock print artist who grew up in Bar Harbor and currently resides in Portland, Maine. She graduated from Bowdoin College and received her Masters in Health Professions from Northeastern University. When she is not carving wood, she practices medicine as a physician assistant at Maine Medical Center. She is the illustrator of the classic book, Christmas in Maine, written by Robert P. T. Coffin, and is the creator of a popular calendar “A Year in Maine,” which she has produced annually since 2006. She has also hand-carved the wood block prints for Coloring Maine, a coloring book that captures the beauty of Maine’s varied landscapes. She has works in permanent collections in institutions across Maine. In addition to creating art and working in the medical field, Butterfield also enjoys kettlebells, participating in absurd athletic competitions, vegan cooking, and making woodblock t-shirts for her favorite speculative fiction authors and her family.

The MCA is pleased to welcome Blue as a as a new member-artist of the organization. Her cards, books and postcards are now available at Center for Maine Craft, and will additionally be found in our new retail location, Maine Craft Portland!

Photo credit: Kevin Bennett Photography

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