Block Printing is a technique for printing text, images, or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper.
The wood block is carefully prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas to show “white” are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper, leaving the characters or image to show in black at the original surface level. The block is cut along the grain of the wood. It is necessary only to ink the block and bring it into firm and even contact with the paper or cloth to achieve an acceptable print. The content would print “in reverse” or mirror-image. The art of carving the wood is known as xylography, though the term is rarely used in English.
There are three methods of printing to consider.
Used for many fabrics, and most early European woodcuts. These items were printed by putting paper or fabric on a flat surface with the block on top and pressing or hammering the back of the block.
The most common for Far Eastern printing. Used for European woodcuts and block books later in the 15th Century and very widely for cloth. The block is placed face side up on a table, with the paper or fabric on top. The back of the paper or fabric is rubbed with a handpad, a flat piece of wood, a burnisher, or a leatherfrotton.
Printing in a Press
“Presses” only seem to have been used in Asia in relatively recent times. They press the inked block onto paper or fabric.
If you’re interested in learning more about Block Printing, refer to the details given below to attend our workshop, where you will be able to make your very own block print.
Kindly fill out the form below to indicate your interest. Thank you!
Let’s build something together.
15 February 2020 @ Forest Pavilion, Botanic Gardens, Singapore