Hello everyone! I’m Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA, and I'm happy to represent the month of March for The Printed Fabric Bee in 2016. The focus of my posts this month will be on Block Printing for art quilts and other fiber projects.
Edited 3/22 to add:U.S. residents who leave a comment here at the Printed Fabric Bee — or at my Artistic Artifacts blog — on any of my block printing posting in March, are eligible to win a prize (see more about this at the end of this post).
Block printing is one of the most ancient forms of decorative art. We carry a very wide range of wooden printing blocks in our shop. These blocks are hand carved in India and are part of our free trade products: we are proud to be a part of the support of 40 families in India!
For my first post, I’m including a video below that was taped while I was running my on-site “pop-up” shop at the recent Art & Soul creative retreat in Portland, Oregon. The video begins with me answering a question from my audience: where do wooden printing blocks come from?, and then moves into the basics of how to block print.
While traveling around the US vending at shows and teaching, I hear many of the same questions over and over, so I am using this opportunity, below and in the video, to briefly answer the most common ones.
- What type of wood is used?
The wooden printing blocks are carved out of shisham wood, which is a locally grown, sustainable hard wood.
- Will the white paint come off?
The white marking is there to give the carvers, or as they prefer, Block Makers, visual guidance as to where to chisel and carve the wood away.
- How do I care for wooden printing blocks?
Do scrub them with soap and water once your printing session is over. Use a soft nail brush if necessary to get paint out of the fine lines. However, don’t let your blocks soak in the sink or a container water. I dry them face down on a dry towel.
Know this: they will never be ‘clean’ again — embrace that! (We find them beautiful with the hints of paint and use; see photo.)
- How can I use them?
.... well, the answer to that is for the next blog post!
My next blog post will give you a few ideas of how to embellish your block printed fabric.
Comment to Win!
In addition to the surface design tutorials posted here on The Printed Fabric Bee blog, each month, the specified artist offers a fabulous giveaway. Simply leave a comment on at least one of the blog posts during that month to be eligible. I have selected a beautiful circle design wooden printing block, an orange foam printing mat (critical to successful block printing), and a jar of True Blue PROfab Opaque Textile Paint as my prize (see below). However...if your name is drawn and you are local to the Virginia/DC/Maryland area (or are willing to travel), you can instead choose to attend my Woodblock Printed Art Quilt class on June 11 for free!
P.S. If you would like to travel to India and meet the families who carve our wooden printing blocks, visit the Colouricious website in England to learn about the Textile Trip of a Lifetime!