Woodcuts originate from ancient China as a method of printing on textiles and paper. In the 13th century, the technique of block printing was transmitted to Europe, and by the 1400s it had become the preferred technique used to create old master prints.
Using woodblocks, the artist carves a relief of the image by lowering the background around it. Then ink is evenly and cleanly rolled onto the woodblock to cover the relief but leaving the lowered background uncoated. Paper is guided exactly onto the block, then rubbed evenly over with a pad to transfer the inked relief to the paper.
William McNamara woodcuts have four to six different colors per piece. Multiple colors can be achieved by cutting and inking a different block for each color and keying the paper to a frame around the woodblocks for printing, assuring perfect registration with each print.
Bill prints in batches, hand mixing ink to create the colors and pressing each block to the paper to create a truly unique, original piece with each woodcut.