Friday, July 6, 2012

Woodblock Printing

Considered by many to be the most artistic method of textile printing, woodblock printing is also one of the oldest. Records dating back to 300 BC show that the first and most primitive woodblocks were created and used in the Egyptian port of Alexandria, where fine cottons, silks, and techniques were traded, and introduced to ancient civilizations in China, Assyria, and India. 

A standardized method was developed where a block would be carved out of wood and a drawing of the design would be transferred onto it. The delicate designs are carved out by hand, the finished product being a flat relief. The reliefs wear down quickly, so they are usually reinforced with strips of brass or copper – a method known as coppering. To print the design, the printer applies color to the block and presses it firmly onto the cloth. The block is struck to ensure an even impression. A second impression is made in the same manner, aligning each print symmetrically. If the pattern contains several colors, the cloth is printed fully with the first color, and must fully dry until the second may be printed. Although woodblock printing is a very slow process, it is capable of producing highly artistic results unattainable by any other method.  

A video from West Elm shows the specialized, laborious process of woodblock printing.

Filling Spaces has all kinds of beautiful block printed items, like napkins, tablecloths and quilts. They are available in a variety of vibrant colors and patterns to add a splash of color to any space. The quilts are so soft and are a great addition to any family space.  


1 comment:

  1. Love the post about block printing, and the video is especially evocative of your homeland. I must get in to see the fabrics you show at the bottom of the post. Great colors!