When working with Dave Fisher this summer, one of the many things that really impressed me about his work was his engraving. Using a simple pen knife he created the most beautiful and lively letters. The profile of the blade and the qualities of the wood helped shape the types of cuts he could make, so the "font" he uses is, in many ways, an expression of the tool and the wood as much as his sense of what a particular letter should look like.
Along similar lines, I enjoyed this video on stone engraving.
I found this video fascinating from start to finish, but a few moments stopped me in my tracks.
About 4:40 in, one of the artisans paints "Anno Domini." The grace of his hand movements and the fluidity and vitality of the brush strokes is mesmerizing.
About 15:20 in there is a time lapse shot that shows how the sunlight moves across a letter. I found it a great reminder that when I engrave wood I am not just drawing lines. Instead, by incising surfaces I am creating shapes with light and shadow. Many of our workspaces are flooded with electric light, making it hard to see what effect our engraving really has. Yet when I worked with Dave this summer, I was struck by how he turned off the overhead lights when we got to work, letting the natural light rake across the surfaces we were carving, revealing the faceting of the tool marks or the shape of the engraved letters.