Block printing is one of the oldest types of printmaking, a 2,000 year old technique which has been done around the world. With roots in China it had remained the most common East Asian method of printing books, texts and images until the 19th century. The technology was first used to duplicate Buddhist texts and then later, books of Chinese origin and in the 1500s, books originally in Japanese began to be printed.
Black and white illustrations were also a part of these early texts. The first coloured prints in Japan were original works of art, which soon led to the publishing of the popular, single-sheet ukiyo-e ("pictures of the floating world"). In India, in the region of Gujarat the use of wooden blocks for printing was most common and records show that as far back as the 12th century, certain areas of India became renowned for their printed cotton.
In essence, one carves a material (there are a number of different materials you can use from wood, linoleum or rubber) and then you transfer your art piece using ink by pressing, stamping or rubbing onto paper, fabric or another material.
Why we love it. We love that this techniques allows for a bold image and leaves a rough texture on our cards and notepads. We also love that we can carve our artworks by hand, using a fine tool and find this process cathartic. Finally, the act of pressing down to stamp is also very definitive. Its a simple way to make your mark. When we have held workshops, we have found that this very simple act of using your hands to press down and and leave a bold mark of permanent ink reflects a subtle movement of what it means to create; precision and intention with a unique print as a result.
Want to Know More About Our Process?
Here is a fun, quirky video to bring the process to light.
Two sisters engaging in social and environmental movement through art &