Blanche Lazzell was born in West Virginia in 1878. She attended the West Virginia Conference Seminary, (now West Virginia Weslyan College) in 1894 and South Carolina Co-Educational Institute in 1899. In 1905, she received a degree in Art History and the Fine Arts from West Virginia University. Two years later, she moved to New York where she attended the Art Students League, studying with William Merritt Chase and Georgia O’Keefe. In 1912, Lazzell traveled throughout Europe, taking classes in Paris at the Academie Julian and the Academie Moderne. In 1913, she returned to the United States and opened a school and in 1915 she attended the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Lazzell became associated with a group of artists who lived in Provincetown, that became the first color woodblock society to ever be established. Taking inspiration from Japanese color woodcuts, this group of artists pioneered the white- line woodcut, also known as the “Provincetown Print”. In this new technique, a single block was used for all the colors by cutting grooves in the block to separate areas of different colors. The groove is left uninked so that the white of the paper acts as an outline around the colored shapes. Though Nordfelt was the original inventor of this method, Lazzell became the leading figure to use it. She created more than 138 woodblocks from 1916 to the 1950s. She was always experimenting, printing by hand on Japanese paper, using watercolor in place of ink and trying various colors, to achieve a different impression, each time.
After two years of studying in Paris, Lazzell combined the white-line technique with her personal adaptation of cubism to represent the angular patterns of the Provincetown houses, rooftops and wharves that are featured in many of the woodcuts.