Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Making his mark: Engraver uses art to find purpose in life

Special to the Hutto News

His engraving is more than a hobby. It's a therapy that has helped him heal.
“I had two heart attacks and two strokes in 2010,” said Jerrell Crider of Hutto. “That forced me to retire, so it's been my art that has kept me sharp, kept me active.”
His speech is clear, with perfect enunciation, but it's deliberate, so he sounds like an English language teacher, pausing for several seconds between each word.
“Rest and taking it slow helped me recover too,” Crider said. “And I had to work with a speech therapist, but she quit seeing me because she said I spoke better than she did.”
The 67-year-old man laughed at the memory.
“Let me explain my work,” Crider said as he got up from the couch and led the way to his workshop. “I draw, yes, and I do graphic design on the computer but that's not my art. My art is the print.”
He takes a drawn image and transfers it to an etching plate made of copper, stone, wood or aluminum with the use of a lithography pen and some acid. Once the image is engraved, he takes the plate to his printing press in the garage.
“Ink is applied and then the magic happens,” Crider said. “More or less ink here or there can create drastically different moods to the scene.
He referred to his print series titled “The Alamo Heroes & The Victor.” Some pieces incorporated the use of color, making the heroes seem triumphant and proud. Others used only shades of black, making the image appear somber but significant.
Paul Holden of Buda owns one of those prints.
“I bought it a while back when it was on display at one of the art centers in town,” Holden said. “He's got such a unique, cool style. It's all historic and accurate, and I've never seen anything like it before. In one image you get the scene and the key players in a piece of history.”