Hand Block Printed Textiles

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Hand Block Printed Textiles

Some people in Europe and North America and many in Asia and Africa have the taste of hand printed fabrics featuring unique and contemporary designs.  In reality, decorated fabric and printed by hand have been around for thousand years but there are very few companies in the world which offer a unique range of traditional handmade textiles. In UK, you can find English decorated fabrics, which are hand printed textiles for any sort of home furnishing. A web search would certainly reveal some company for you.

To begin Block Printing carving process is the first step.  Note that carving errors cannot be corrected easily, so you have to be very careful.  Better have a decisive plan on paper and then transfer the reverse of your design on the wood for carving. All carved areas are white or negative space which would not pick ink to leave any impression on fabric.  Wood carving knives are available to perform this carving task.

You have to have a stable working table to spread out the fabric and enough room to move around if needed with an assistant.  It is highly recommended to use water based inks on to environmentally friendly fabrics such as organic cotton to make the prints. You can find ready to use fabric colours in the market too. Work in a dry room for better result and you can test your blocks on paper to make sure they are leaving good impression.

Put ink to inking tray and spread it with the brayer, then use the brayer to create a thin, even layer of ink on the linoleum. Place the block face down on the fabric and then apply the pressure. Note fabric ink would take time to get dry so be careful not to let it torch anything until dry. Repeat the process of putting your design on the fabric until series of required prints is finished.

If you can feel, there are traditions and culture behind hand block printing textiles.  However; now-a-days the colours and modernism are the key elements in the fabrics printed by hand otherwise it won’t sell. Now people look for quality and precision which requires special skill in combination of traditional fabric painting and printing techniques, with a strong, contemporary feel. Using a wide range of motifs and colours, fabrics can become ever more exotic reaching beyond the boundaries.

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