X is for Xylography

I learned something new on twitter today. There is an official word for wood engraving: xylography.

There is even a video on youtube!

Once upon a time, book were made using xylography. It’s a lot art, since no one actually makes books like that any more. I suppose there must be one in a museum somewhere.

Classes, too, probably, on how to decorate fabric and make art with xylography. That’s one of the other things it was used for, to make printed fabric.

In fact, the word is so unusual WordPress doesn’t recognize it. It thinks I meant either (1) holography (2) xerography or (3) graphology. I double-checked; xylography is indeed the proper spelling.

You could do make art or books by stamping the wooden blocks onto fabric or wood. Or rubbing the wood onto fabric or paper. I am not entirely sure rubbing would work.

I was thinking it sounds a lot like the metal plates people use for making nail art. I don’t know. Does it sound similar? You put a but of polish on the plate, smooth away the excess and hold it on top of your nail. (I have sometimes used paper cutouts for this, with varying levels of success.)

Anyway, I am glad I don’t level in an age where books are commonly made with xylography. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to get out a decent sized novel. Making a whole book like this sounds like a lot of work. I imagine educational works got priority.