Let’s begin with the word itself; engraving is referred to a practice of cutting a design into a hard surface. It is used to produce decorative items made of materials like silver, gold, wood, and other metals. It is a very primitive practice, and the first traces of engravings known to humans are from the beginning of the first millennium B.C.E. these oldest pieces of evidence are shallow grooves on metal jewelry.
The Engraving Art
In ancient Greece, the evidence of 20 separate stylistic shops are found, and it seems like that engravers and vessel producers were separate craftsmen. In European Middle Ages, the Goldsmiths engraved on metal to decorate the items. It is believed that those goldsmiths printed impressions of the designs in order to save them and keep a record. These printing impressions gave way to the engraving art where artists used copper printing plates to produce images on paper.
From these old-school techniques to modern times where designs can be engraved on any material by laser engraving machine, the practice never lost its charm. Even today the art is still relevant and admired. There is a huge market for engraved items and techniques have gotten a lot better with the advent of machines. Like every other industry, this engraving industry was also taken over by the technology.
With mind-boggling technological advancements, the engraving became better and better. Today, it is precise and comes with minimum to zero chances of blunder. Wood has been one of the favorite materials to be used for decorative purposes. It has been engraved since the beginning, and the trend is still strong.
Wood As A Medium
Wood was used for the engraving art too since the beginning, and it waned in the sixteenth century only to be revived again in the nineteenth century. British illustrator Thomas Bewick made his first wood engraving in 1768. His work gained popularity in no-time and brought the acclaim to the process. His techniques were commercialized by the 1830’s, and more and more women entered the market. However, these women were still working from home as freelancers.
Sadly, by the nineteenth century, the art was almost disappearing due to the more easy and efficient photography. In the early twentieth century, some artists revived the practice and saved it from wiping off.
Initially, it was difficult because the craftsmen used hands to inscribe, but now the well-equipped modern wood engraving machine is available. The task has become easier, and the results are precise. Even the little pieces of jewelry are inscribed exactly the same.
Engraving is so common that our mind doesn’t even register how many engraved things we see daily. The manufacturers inscribe almost every product. It is used for branding purposes naturally as it is a lifetime marking. It will be there until the product is used and it will only be lost during the recycling process.