Posted by: theoriginalmiss | April 15, 2013

Endangered and Threatened Species

I thought I’d share these: the moment seems opportune as I am currently discussing a similar project with a couple of organisations in Australia. These are photos of tiny wood engravings that I did back in my art school days, in 1997, just before I finished and they feature some endangered and threatened species. For those of you who are unaware of wood engraving, it involves making minute engravings and scratchings into extremely hardwood, such as apple I was told back then, more recently I have been told to keep my camelia loppings! The wood is highly polished so that it can be printed up clearly; usually the artist stains the wood before engraving so that you can see your markmaking as you go. I found it an extremely satisfying form of printmaking but not longer do it due to being unable to find the wood. I tried polishing some hard wood I found recently but the results were, frankly, pathetic – it really needs to be done by a professional with the right equipment.

Anyway, this series of images was prompted, after a visit to the magnificent London Zoo, by the alarm I felt about the rising number of endangered and threatened species. My intention was to approach the Zoo about using them in some sort of fundraising capacity; sadly that never happened. Of course, today the situation is even more grave, with scientists claiming that we are currently in the sixth wave of mass extinctions, with species pushed to their ecological limits by anthropogenic drivers such as landclearing, deforestation, development and pollution. Human-induced climate change is reeking havoc on our most vulnerable species as witnessed by recent rare bird deaths across the UK (Philby C, “Rare birds killed off after migration north sees them face freezing temperatures back in UK” in The Independent, 10 Aril 2013).



  1. These are delightful, Paula. The Oryx is my favourite. Woodcut prints have always appealed to me. Here’s hoping some suitable wood will materialise for you.

    • Thank you Bridget. Actually I have a fairly large branch of Camelia from a recent pruning lying in my garden – must remember not to throw it out. It’s the sanding and polishing that’s the hard bit! The project I’m planning to do revolves around mobile photography though, not printmaking – I really hope it comes to something – watch this space, as they say.

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