Creating Unique Fabrics with Indian Block Printing

Creating fabrics using techniques including: masking, over-printing and mitred corners (all explained later).

It is still early days for Stitching Kitchen and so far the Indian Block printing sessions have proved very popular.

I am a bit addicted to a great podcast by Susan Weeks - 'Stitchery Stories' and recently loved listening to her speak to Jamie Malden from Colouricious - I recommend you have a listen and find out more about the history and future of Indian Wooden Block carving and printing. Colouricious import hand carved wooden printing blocks from artisans in Jaipur, they also provide all the necessary sundries to print both on fabric and paper and even into clay! Take time to browse the website www.colouricous.com for more info and lots and lots of inspiration.

You can check out this wonderful podcast for creative people who love textiles, stitching & quilting - wonderful inspirational stories aimed at the fabric world. http://www.stitcherystories.com

Ann had lent me a tree block which I wanted to repeat in a checkerboard pattern and then surround in leaves - in order to achieve this I first printed the tree block using brown (for the trunk) and green (for the leaves). I was happy so far and so created a mask (a piece of paper the same shape as the tree block) which I placed over the print and then printed a leaf block around the trees in a lighter green. Next I wanted to add some more depth of texture and colour so I selected a more structural leaf block and over printed in a darker green.

Listening to Jamie reminded me of a film of a skilled Indian Block printer from Jaipur who created perfect mitred corners from a decorative edge block using a folded piece of newspaper as a mask for the 45 degree angle corner. I grabbed a piece of fabric and my decorative edge block and set to work, it turns out I don't have a steady hand and cannot print a straight line for toffee. On the whole I was pleased with my corners (when I worked out which way to place the paper mask) I will add a photo of the finished trial piece but essentially you print along each edge and then when you reach the corner place your 45 degree triangle on the part of cloth which will be printed in the "other direction". As you start printing the next edge move the mask over the corner you have just printed and continue. I think a series of photos will help this explanation - I did try to take a series of in process photos but the iphone to laptop transfer is causing me a headache!!

mitred corners IBP

So I hope this give you a flavour of what you can do with Indian blocks, if you would like to have a go most of my blocks are from Colouricious and I am running workshops in the new year AND launching 'Block Print Parties' more details to follow....