Most of Rod Nelson's working life has been related to wood and trees. He was a carpenter and joiner for many years, and in his forties, largely as a result of visits to work on forestry in Thailand, he made a transition to working on initiatives to promote responsible forestry.
He worked until his sixties as an auditor for chain of custody schemes (FSC and PEFC) to track products from well-managed forests from forest to market.
His printmaking began in his early twenties, as a result of having a small printing press in the basement of his home. Rod's relationship with printmaking was utterly transformed by a visit to the Hayward Gallery in London in the summer of 1994, and seeing there the work of Shiko Munakata. This compelled him to try to make woodblock prints, and despite initially knowing precious little about how to do it, his woodworking skills and knowledge of tools enabled him to do so. Ever since then, he has been learning as he goes, helped by encounters with the work of other artists and meeting other printmakers.
In 2012, he was invited to visit Shanghai for the International Woodblock Print Exhibition and in 2014 he was invited to join the group Pine Feroda. In 2016, together with Merlyn Chesterman RE, he co-authored the book ‘Making Woodblock Prints’ published by Crowood Press.