|[Screengrabs from English Silk]|
On view now through March 2014 at Bexley's Hall Place is Pattern to Print, a show that explores silk printing in Crayford, Bexley, specifically textiles done at the David Evans factory. Although the venerable English manufacturer was finally forced to close a little over a decade ago, the factory's archived patterns still inspire designers. At Vimeo, I found a documentary that conveys just how painstaking Evans's hand-block printing process was. From carving the printing blocks to creating the dyes and ultimately stamping out the incredibly dense paisleys, it's all covered here.
One of the reasons cited for the demise of block printing at Evans was customer dissatisfaction with minuscule pin dots that appeared on fabric, revealing the craftsman's hand. Seems ironic now, with the renewed interest in handmade wares.
Coincidentally, after this exhibition closes, a new related V & A book will be released in the U.S.: Selling Silks by Lesley Miller looks at a highly-coveted 18th-century French sample album for silk merchants.