The Rich Story of Carved Lines

Usually the prints I make are deeply personal illustrations of my heart, vision and journey.  From the early days printmaking has been, to me, a form of prayer, offering up to the Father layers of concern and expression of things I do not often fully comprehend.  Within that context is a platform to explore the visualization of spiritual concepts, revelations and principles- basically a blundering effort to make the unseen seen on some level.  I wonder that I am taken up with making a “graven image”  and how that settles with the second commandment (Exodus 20 verse 4 if you are interested).  Hopefully, what I am making are objects that are doors or windows that might lead one into worship, certainly they are far from worshipful in themselves.  I take comfort that the Merciful One will ultimately be the judge of my heart on this one.

These images here, are a divergence in a way, in that, they are the mixture of my expression and visual language with the story and purpose of two other entities.  The first of those is Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic GuitarsHe has been building these beautifully crafted and, by all accounts, almost magically sounding guitars for five years now.  The resulting print will be the certificate of authenticity that will be presented with every instrument that he sells.  Matt is passionate about story and building rich relationships with his customers, and he invests personal expression into every instrument.  His sense of story has been woven together with mine here, I hope.

On a technical level, I am always in an attempt to push myself past where I was before in my work. It may only be in a way that is visible to my own eye. With printmaking I compose a design and I wonder if I will be able to pull it off- if the level of detail will translate as a small mammal, or a vine, or a bird- or just a confused tangle of ink. Many times it has resulted in the confused tangle. This print for Matt has tons of this risk built into the design, and I think his spirit has elevated me, because I somehow feel a door has been unlocked.  Of course, I really won’t know until the ink hits the paper- but there is hope that these tiny branches will be able to speak.

The second entity is the musical trio Sister Sinjin.  My good friend Elizabeth Duffy is part of this group of women who sing devotedly to the glory and love of God.  This image from this block will become the cover art for their upcoming record.  The contemplative spirit of their music really seems to offer a counterpoint to the industrious detail of the print I’m making for Matt.  I’ve noticed and appreciated the contrast as I have been working back and forth between these two blocks.  The quite offering of the woman and the persistent labor of the plowman.  Both have offered a lot of opportunity to grow and develop and express, and I am grateful.  There are many photographs of the carving process below, which is still underway in both cases, though I am nearly done with the Sister Sinjin block.

9 Comments on “The Rich Story of Carved Lines

  1. These are incredible and how beautiful to see the process and level of detail you apply. Also, a very belated thank you – my family bought me a print of ‘The Living Tree’ back in May and it’s been beautifully framed. It’s in my living room and being meditated and reflected on and enjoyed daily.

    • Thank you very much! I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying the Living Tree, as well.

  2. Great work! I’ve enjoyed seeing your creativity as I’ve lurked over the last few years. What is the brand of chisel you’re using in your printmaking? The longer-handled small v-chisels.

    • Thank you so much, Dave. I’m glad you’ve been around. These chisels I ordered from imcclains.com, a printmaking supply company in Oregon. They are “Namesi Mikey Hanga To”, I’ve been very happy with them so far.

      • Thanks! Always on the lookout for good tools that serve their owners well.

  3. Your prints are indeed deeply personal illustrations of your heart, vision and journey, Jack — which I think is why they speak to me so profoundly. I cannot imagine a more wonderful way to use the gift you’ve been given than to celebrate God and His works, and to remind others through your art to walk in greater communion with nature and their Creator.

    • Heidi, I am very grateful for your words. It is a struggle for me to recognize or measure any of the deeper merit or value, which I strive towards, or at least hope towards, on my work. You have given me hope, that it is in there. Thank you so much for this encouragement.

      • I believe there is value and merit to any creative endeavor — but especially one so beautiful as yours, and which so earnestly strives to honor the Great Creator. Please keep following your heart and doing what you love, Jack … for through your passion and work you are encouraging others to follow their hearts, too. Peace to you.

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