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01.07.2018 Timeless Art: Block Printing

Posted by Lone Crow

Block printing has a long history that spans thousands of years. Originating in East Asia, the technique existed in China as early as the 2nd century CE; one of the earliest surviving woodblock printings was done before 220 CE. Images and text were cut into blocks of wood and printed on silk cloth. Eventually, the printing made its way to paper, and by 600 CE the approach was used to display religious texts, calendars, calligraphy, and more.

See this link for more history.

We have stocked block prints at the shop for many years. See our collection here. For our limited-edition prints, the artist first carves multiple wood and linoleum blocks to print from. Like the traditional Japanese ukiyo-e masters, she then carves one block for each color to be printed later. After making all the color blocks, she then handprints one color at a time, using an antique Vandercook printing press. The result of this laborious process are the rich, vibrant colors of our woodblock prints. To try your own hand at basic block printing onto paper or fabric, you can find various resources online, including here.

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