About the Artist

I am a self-taught wood engraver, with some generous help from colleagues along the way. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1970, I moved to Boston and made my first engraving on a small block of maple. I was inspired by the illustrations in old books and kept wondering, "How were these done, who did them, and why aren't they being done today?" To answer those questions I read the entire collection of books on wood engraving in the Boston Public Library, and used some engraving tools given to me by a wood sculptor, tools that I still use today.

The actual prints on paper are clearer than what can be shown in my online Gallery, as some of the detailed lines I engrave get lost in cyber-translation. Nevertheless, it gives you a good idea of the nature of my work and attention to detail.

Randy Miller

Wood Engravings

Text and images copyright © 2000 by Randy Miller. All rights reserved.

Site updated 30AUG13

Printing on an antique, cast-iron letterpress is an art in its own right. I own a 1920 Chandler & Press letterpress which I found in a print shop in Alstead, New Hampshire, where I moved in 1973. It was available because the printer was converting to offset presses. He helped get me started in the very involved craft of printing woodblocks and I continue to engrave by hand and print my own blocks on the C&P.

small practice block

In 1980 I was juried and accepted into the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and placed my work in League shops around the state. I also exhibited in the annual Craftsmen's Fair at Sunapee State Park for many years. The photo to the left below was taken in 1976. The block being engraved is the view of Lake Warren in East Alstead titled Old New Hampshire Hills.

Beginning with the 2000 edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac (the oldest continuously published periodical in North America, originating in 1793), you will see my wood engraving of Ceres adorning the Almanac's title page. My engraving of Ceres, goddess of agriculture, is based on an old wood engraving from 1797 that is in the Almanac's archives. My 18-year-old daughter Linnet was the model for Ceres. I started the commissioned engraving on New Year's Day 1999 and finished it two months later.

The artist’s home in East Alstead, built in 1815. At left, Randy engraving, 1976 (photo by Tafi Brown)

Pictured are two views of my press, with the woodblock clamped into the chase. The rollers, which are just below the woodblock, pass over the inked platen to pick up the ink and roll it over the block. Boxwood engraving blocks come “type-high” (.918”) just like old metal type.

In this photo I’m printing the Vermont Sheep Farm woodblock

Thin paper shims are placed behind the woodblock and on the bed that receives the paper, to help create a uniform impression

Ceres, Goddess of Agriculture, wood engraving by Randy Miller for The Old Farmer’s Almanac