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Ruskin Woodworking Response

Essay by   •  September 14, 2018  •  Term Paper  •  481 Words (2 Pages)  •  480 Views

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Ruskin employs several techniques to translate the complicated mechanics of wood engraving into understandable contents. From these tools that he employs, two stand out to be particularly effective. First, Ruskin compares wood engravings to metal engravings and explain how exactly the two differ. By presenting this comparison, Ruskin allows readers to visualize better the delicate techniques involved in wood engraving. Second, Ruskin preemptively answers questions his students might have throughout the lecture, effectively clarifying the complex concepts behind wood engraving for readers who may have the same questions.

Although metal engravings and wood engravings share many similarities, subtle differences exist. By examining these disparities and illustrating how exactly wood engravings differ, Ruskin provides a better understanding of the mechanics behind wood engraving. One such example occurs when Ruskin explains how “you must not sketch upon [a wood engraving],” but “you may sketch on metal as much as you please” (68). If Ruskin had simply claimed that one must not sketch upon wood, the point would not have been as effectively illustrated. Readers would have been left to wonder what exactly a “sketch” entails. By comparing the wood engravings to metal engravings – where one can sketch freely upon – Ruskin is able to illustrate the delicate approach necessary for wood engravings, while at the same time translate the complicated mechanics behind wood engraving into a fathomable format.

Another technique Ruskin successfully employs is to preemptively answer questions students may have: Ruskin effectively addresses possible confusions throughout his lecture, thereby further engaging the students and clarifying his points. For instance, a major facet of wood engraving Ruskin outlines is that “the finest wood-cutting ignores light and shade, and expresses only form, and dark local colour” (71). Right after this remark, he quickly



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