Thursday, 22 October 2015

How to: Block Printing

Popular Patchwork - Nov 15
I love exploring techniques that I haven’t used for a while and finding new ways (at least to me) of using them.  In this month’s PopularPatchwork (November 2015) is an article I wrote about block printing. 
Popular Patchwork - the project
It was great fun to make the samples and to explore what I could do, especially as I was constrained (for this feature) only to use bought blocks, not ones I had designed myself.
These blocks were just gorgeous to look at - and to work with
To this end, I had a lovely box of Christmas stamps from Colouricious to play with.  If you have time, it is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours and you can make some lovely, unique cloth that you can use to wrap Christmas presents.  If you have quilter friends, the fabric itself would make a fantastic gift. 
My equipment, including the all important cup of coffee
All you need are the blocks, fabric, a sponge and some paint.  I used a mixture of textile paints and standard acrylics.  To be honest, there was not much different in the handle of the fabric between either of them, but perhaps the textile paint will be more permanent, especially if you are going to wash the fabric.  As most of my fabric is used for wall hangings, this is not something I spend much time worrying over.
Creating a pattern
On some pieces, I just kept overprinting, in different colours, which produced some interesting results.  On others, I tried making patterns.
Usings the printed fabric as wrapping cloths
Another way of printing, which also gave good results was to spray the block with water and then rub with an Inktense stick, before pressing it on the fabric.  Full details are in the article.
Using Inktense and a different type of block

I’m also running a one-day class in block printing on 6 November and there are still some places if you are interested.  We will be making and designing our own blocks, using foam, so you could create your own Christmas wrapping fabrics if you wished.  Email me for more details or visit the website.

Fabric printed with Inktense

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