Relief Prints

“Artists and Artisans of Guatemala” Print Series

This print series shows artisans fashioning textiles and objects using clay, various fibers, leather, metal, and other materials. The medium of wood and linocut relief printing – which combines artistic and craft skills – serves to echo the Guatemalan spirit of creativity and skilled workmanship.

All of the relief prints shown on this page are from the book Guardianes de las artes: grabados de artistas y artesanos de Guatemala/ Guardians of the Arts: Prints of Guatemalan Artists and Artisans. The imagery draws upon what I’ve learned during many stays in Guatemala since the mid-sixties, when, with my first sight of Maya women wearing their traditional dress, I fell in love with their weaving. My hands-on experience with weaving began with learning to use a backstrap loom.

While living in Guatemala, I photographed and interviewed artists and artisans of many other Guatemalan arts and crafts. This work became the source for the imagery in the prints. 

Other inspiration came from the traditional arts and crafts  – clothing, pottery, hats, brooms and other things – that I used daily in Guatemala, and still do here, in Rochester, NY. All these activities form the background of my work. 

The hope is that my images of artists and artisans will inspire others to appreciate and support them, ensuring that these life enhancing and life sustaining activities activities will not disappear.

Purchasing prints

For information on purchasing prints, please visit the Ordering page. Click the button below to download the price list and order form.

A Short Description of Relief Printing 

The following is an abbreviated description of the process used to create the prints in this series:

As a medium, relief printing demands slow and careful work. To develop the drawing -- the basis for the print image -- often means making many preliminary sketches. Then the drawing is transferred to a prepared wood block. Once this is accomplished, very sharp carving tools are used to cut wood blocks. Less sharp tools are used for linoleum. All areas not to be printed are cut away.

Final steps involve rolling ink on the block with a brayer, carefully placing special paper on the block and then applying pressure to transfer the ink on the block to the paper. Each print is carefully dried and stored. The prints in this series are truly hand made; they are printed one at a time using a tabletop hand operated press. The blocks are never put on a mechanical letterpress to make multiple copies.

For learning more about relief printing, such as choice of wood blocks, knives, type of paper used, and actual printing techniques, a recommended book is The Woodcut Artist's Handbook: Techniques and Tools for Relief Printmaking, 2nd Edition, by George Walker. Many online resources also exist for learning about relief printing. 

Relief Print Gallery

Click on an image to open the slideshow. To view the descriptive text, hover cursor over individual images in the slideshow.