An accomplished member of the early twentieth-century Arts and Crafts movement, William S. Rice was also a dedicated teacher. By the time he published Block Prints: How To Make Them in 1941, he was an instructor at the University of California, having just retired from a forty-year career teaching art in California’s public secondary schools.
Already an illustrator and watercolorist when he moved to the Bay Area in 1900, Rice began making block prints as early as 1915—the same year as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a turning point for the artist. Little was needed in order to make block prints at home, and Rice set to work in the attic studio of his East Oakland bungalow. As Rice would go on to describe in his extremely practical guide to block printing, an artist could get started with basic tools, wood or linoleum blocks, inks, and paper, even repurposing household items to their advantage.
Now back in print after a long absence, Block Prints: How To Make Them is an eminently readable guide that remains as functional as the day it was made. Written for the novice, Rice’s every instruction is provided with a dose of steadying encouragement. The modern crafter or art student will find useful guidance in the contributions of Martin Krause, author of this new edition’s introduction. His footnotes added throughout provide context to the original edition, translate terminology that might be unfamiliar, and provide updates where needed. As Rice wrote in his preface, this book “is offered with the sincere hope that it may prove both instructive and encouraging to those who are seriously interested in this most absorbing handicraft.”
About the Authors
William S. Rice (American, 1873–1963) was one of the defining block print artists of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Also a watercolorist, teacher, and avid outdoorsman, he found inspiration in nature and created humble yet stunning images. His active and prolific career extended to the age of ninety.
Martin Krause served for thirty-nine years as curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Krause is coauthor of Gustave Baumann: Nearer to Art and editor of the Pomegranate books The Autobiography of Gustave Baumann (2015) and Gustave Baumann: Views of Brown County (2018). His other wide-ranging publications devoted to the history of the graphic arts include monographs on J. M. W. Turner, Robert Indiana, and Garo Antreasian.