Art Form Inspiration: Block PrintingNovember 9, 2017
We’re starting your Thursday off with a dose of artistic inspiration from an ancient art form with a modern twist. Block printing is a traditional form of printmaking that utilizes handmade stamps: i.e. wood, linoleum, rubber, or many other materials. Artists carve images into the material with special carving tools and then transfer the impression onto paper or fabric using inks, dyes, and other paint resources.
We are fascinated with some of the amazing work that is emerging from contemporary printmakers, and couldn’t wait to share some inspiring images below, plus a short bio on each amazing artist. Block Shop, Richelle Bergen, Katharine Watson, Andrea Lauren of Ink Print Repeat, and Erin Dollar of Cotton & Flax are just a few of our favorites. Click the caption link to view more work by these talented designers.
Block Shop is a textile company that marries the traditional Indian hand block printing process with a modern California aesthetic. Our products are a collaboration between sisters Hopie and Lily Stockman in Los Angeles and the Chhipa family of printers and dyers in Bagru, Rajasthan. Our entire process is manual: we design on paper, print with wooden blocks, and dye in small batches – the same way it’s been done in India for more than three centuries. No two textiles are exactly alike.
[Richelle Bergen] creates block printed artwork, inspired by nature, botanical patterns and seemingly ordinary daily details. Each print is hand carved on artist’s linoleum or rubbing carving block, and hand printed with eco-friendly inks onto premium papers. Because of the hand printing process, each print may have slight variations, which make each one unique and original.
Katharine Watson started printmaking in college, when the spot she hoped to take in a painting course didn’t fit with her class schedule. She fell in love with linocuts there, and went on to study block printing in India and then to focus on printmaking for the remainder of her art education.
What began as a college thesis and side project has since turned into Katharine’s full time career and has led to features in Vogue and Martha Stewart Living, as well as collaborations with the Metropolitan Museum and Chronicle Books, among many others.
Andrea discovered her love of printmaking during a Lithography class in the basement print studio at Columbia University in New York. She is inspired by vintage picture books, folk stories and woodland walks.
While Erin mostly creates patterns featured in Cotton & Flax as ink drawings (she creates each pattern by hand, using a brush and sum ink, then transfers these patterns to a silkscreen to print multiples on fabric), she does dabble in gorgeous block-printed works as well and has taught workshops on The Crafter’s Box, a virtual workshop space. (Pictured)
Cotton & Flax textiles are made using natural materials, including linen fabrics and eco-friendly water-based inks. Erin chooses linen-blend fabrics for their unique qualities: high absorbency, durability, and increased softness with time.