Sunday, 26 February 2017

Playing with Block Printing

I should have been weaving by now.  With the last of the samples off the loom, I wound off a warp for 3 rugs, wanting a fun, fast and simple project.   I managed to make a threading error at about 1/3 of the warp and didn't find it until I had 2/3 threaded.   I took it out and have been rethreading.  Then I was tired and it was dark and in frustration, I marked the section of threads which was giving me issues and walked away for a cup of tea and an early night.   I took a day off because I'd promised a friend I'd help her with a dry run of a class she wants to teach.  

There were 5 of us who had never done block printing on fabric before.   We each got a jar of paint, a handle with 5 blades and a piece of soft, rubbery, easy to carve material, from which to make our own stamps.     I'd missed the memo on bringing a pre-chosen design in an appropriate size, but I'd sketched out a couple of pages of designs which were luckily in the right ballpark for size. We transferred our images to the block using carbon paper and then carved away, sticking a block of wood on the back using contact cement when we were done.  Well Percival actually did all the contact cement work, since he was finished first and had the tin of glue and brush in front of him. 

This class was for the SCA, so most people did something heraldic, but I chose this vine design.  If I'd thought it out a tad more carefully, I'd have made sure that the central vine matched up exactly at the top and bottom, but it's close enough to be charming, if not perfect.   The block I carved is on the left and is a reverse of what you actually get when you stamp.  I didn't have a way to properly clean the stamp until I got home, so it's a bit stained. 

The stamping on silk was really clear and clean but there was some paint bleed through to the back.  The grey linen took the ink well, but the image isn't quite as clear in places.  Most of the paint on the linen, stayed to the top of the fabric.

We did a sample on wool fabric, but it was really fuzzy and the test sample on paper, to see if the block stamp produced an image we were happy with, was lovely and clear.   As I was heading home, in the gusty wind, with big flakes of snow swirling around on the road and rushing through the air, I came to the conclusion that these simple stamps would make lovely cards and gift tags.

Westfield had a volunteer enrichment day a couple of weeks ago, where I got to make a very cute, lovely card, using scrap booking methods.  While I liked the outcome, I realized that I really didn't have the time, desire, space and $ to amass the amount of paper, cutters, stamps and inks it would take to do these cards justice.   However, I'd been wanting to make cards for ages and with making and stamping them, all the supplies could be kept in a tiny, little bin, cost would be negligible, and the only real investment would be my time.  Plus, while I enjoyed the cuteness, I think that the fake wood block print is much more my style.


1 comment:

Woolly Bits said...

back from my trip - a bit delayed in answering:) I had similar ideas about making cards myself and found, like you, that a lot of buying gadgets, materials etc. would be involved = not really for me:( I do one or two occasionally with what I already have, but I won't buy loads of additional stuff, even though some cards are really pretty! what annoys me most is that it's really hard to find one store to buy it all! most of them are in the uk, so mail order for me - and to do certain designs I'd have to shop around. which would cost a small fortune in mail:( and I don't want to go into card making business, so is there a point in spending that much for a few carts each year? I think not...
I love fabric stamping - and your design looks very lovely! you could always add a bit of embroidery if you wanted to add some colour, but if the print isn't too large it works in simple patchwork desigs as well?
off to do more washing on a day that could be in april = snow, sun, wind, rain....
Bettina