Saw Art

"What any true painting touches is an absence - an absence of which without the painting, we might be unaware. And that would be our loss.
- John Berger

Paintings on Saw Blades by Julie Oliver

When l realized the rich history of the saw milling industry here, it was almost larger than life.  The artist's eye and brush were on the blade in no time. With the thought of creating detailed artworks on these historic sawblades, the paintings could be created from photos belonging to the family. For those that reminisce, these become heirlooms to hold for younger generations. The compositions can cover imaginary ideas to factual or entire life stories.

The Beginnings of the Miniature X Saw


The idea of these grew when I wanted to create a customer friendly (size wise) version of those splendid, yet Large X Saws. There was much to discuss with sheet metal workers and printing firms in the beginning. Eventually, we got there. Things are certainly not done the same way now. Bigger, better, faster machinery, but my part in the creation of them remains as slow and meticulous as it was with them from day one. The first one was cut out by a metal artist who was trying to understand my vision, over ten years ago now. I still have that saw today…

The Miniature X Saws in Detail...

Much debate amongst the public is what’s brought about this description. Are they prints or originals? ~ They involve both.

The beginning of each new image starts with me on my computer and enhancing a scanned image from a file that was recorded from my original paintings once done on canvas or larger X saws. They are firstly formatted for the unique Miniature X Saw. The saw specifications were given to my Laser cutters in Hamilton. They are cut and couriered to my Marton studio. I create the handles / roll the ends and put them together.

The completed work then involves a combination of a particular vinyl that becomes the scanned image that l place onto the blade fitted for permanent adhesion. I begin my hands on brushwork to ‘balance’ each limited saw, painting each end and continuing my work around the saw and with detail finally enhance each one, whatever direction my hand and brush feels like going that day.

Therefore each one becomes unique and will differ slightly from the next numbered and same-named work. Each one is signed and numbered on the back. Each one will take 1 to 2 hours from start to finish. In the early days, they were 1/100, as they became more popular, they are now 1/200.