Brender a. Brandis
"Two Trees" 1968 5/12
9" x 14" Image
21.25" x 17.5" Frame
I came to Canada in 1947 with my parents and siblings and lived first in Terrace, British Columbia. My teacher in the third and fourth grades was Mr. Wilson, who got his students repairing the textbooks which had been overused during the Great Depression and World War II and, in the process, taught us very basic bookbinding during cold winter noon hours.
After nine years the family moved south where my sister Marianne and both our parents studied at the University of British Columbia. Then on we went to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, for a year and then we settled in Ontario. I took a B.A. in Fine Arts History which included quite a lot of studio hours. During my third year my mother and I started taking art lessons from Norma Waters in Hamilton and the following year we had our first exhibition in Burlington.
In 1964 I was introduced to wood engraving by my professor, George Wallace, and within an hour of completing my first block I announced, "I am going to be a wood engraver." My history professor, William Kilbourn, arranged a meeting with his sister Rosemary who was then one of the very few established wood engravers in Canada, and she agreed to become my mentor, a relationship that developed into a lasting friendship.
In 1965 the family moved to Carlisle, Ontario, where I lived until my move to Stratford in 1991. I immediately opened my house and studio to the public for six months a year with a display and sales area. The public was also welcomed into my studio so that I could show them how I made books. By this time I had added other book arts to my repertory, typesetting, printing on a hand press, spinning and weaving flax into linen book covers, and papermaking. In addition to my handmade letterpress editions of books I worked on trade editions, mostly with The Porcupine's Quill, frequently collaborating with my sister Marianne.
I closed my "shop in the house" in September 2019 but continue my wood engraving and book arts in my heritage house in Stratford.