Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

1.26.2011

Projects: Block-Printing on Linen


It took me a few years to finally get around to ordering a woodblock and textile paint but once I had my hands on all the supplies the gratification was almost instant. The pillow shown here (in the foreground next to Peter Dunham's Kashmir Paisley) was made with a section of natural linen block-printed by a middle school student.

You know how some people add to the mix on their sofa a hand-stitched needlepoint pillow made by their grandmother or a friend? For me, this DIY pillow is in that spirit. Since the project began as an experiment, I started with the smallest size of the most economical paints from Dharma Trading -- navy, turquoise and white -- and then played around with mixes. Basically, we followed Elizabeth James' printing tips to the letter. 

[Hand-carved wood textile block available through Etsy.]

If you're drawn to the idea of hand-printing some fabric for a pillow but think the imperfections inherent with lining up stripes will bother you, a block with one large free-form motif is a great choice.

[Indian woodblock available at Pacific & Rose.]

Just stamp away until you achieve an imprint you're satisfied with, being careful to leave an ample expanse of unstamped fabric surrounding what will become the "stamped medallion" of your pillow.

For an array of animal stamps, click here.

For sewing tutorials, visit The Long Thread.


To see Geobeats' behind-the-scenes tour of The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, click here. Also of interest, The Zucchi Collection, home to 56,000 antique and vintage printing blocks.

Related past post: Upholstered Sawhorse Desk.

13 comments:

Mrs. Blandings said...

I am crazy about the frayed edge.

Style Court said...

Thanks for noticing, Patricia!

home before dark said...

Following these threads: absolutely delightful. I must have paisley encoded in my DNA. Have always adored this lovely shape. You go girls!

Style Court said...

HBD --

I think I have paisley in my DNA, too. Speaking of which I noticed Eccho has a collection of vintage-inspired paisley scarves. Easy on the budget, described as silk twill. Maybe a second pillow project awaits?

Style Court said...

Also, I forgot to add that we experiment on both a tightly woven cotton and the more textural linen. I like the painterly effect of the inks on linen but if you prefer a crisper look, linen like this probably won't be your first choice.

Designwali said...

wow.you mean you did this yourself? I'm dying to try..but first i need the blocks and then of course enough gutso to just go for it!

Style Court said...

Hi Designwali --

The larger blue pillow is a purchased Peter Dunham fabric but the small pillow was block-printed by a fifth grade student. All I did was pick the colors and come up with a mix for an inky peacock-blue :)

Go for it! It's so fun!

Tokyo Jinja said...

Wow, this came out so beautifully that your print looks no less professional than the Dunham fabric!! Perfect colors and pillow shape - I love the orientation and tightness of the stripes- and the frayed edge is great too. New business looming???

Style Court said...

TJ --

Thank you!

No business plans--just a super-fun Sunday project. When I responded to designwali, I typed "fifth grader" but I meant to say middle school student.

7:28 AM

Tokyo Jinja said...

Well I have an actual middle schooler (6th grade). Maybe I should put her to work!

permanent magenta said...

Holy Cow, I have just discovered your blog via casapinka, Amazing!!! I can't believe all the wonderful links and beautiful art you've collected here!! Thanks for sharing the treasure:)

Style Court said...

PM --

Thanks for visiting!

Janet said...

Oh, your project turned out so well. It looks so beautiful. What fun you two must have had!