Are you growing a little bored with your interiors? With a new season comes the perfect opportunity to switch things up. If you’ve been longing for autumn’s rich colour palette and cosy layered textiles, block-printed patterns could be just the look you’ve been searching for...
Block printing is a traditional process used to create beautiful, unique designs for fabrics using engraved wooden printing blocks.
One of the earliest printing practices in textile history, it’s hard to pin down the origins of this intricate method. Believed to have started in China over 4,000 years ago, it eventually found its roots in India before the boom of European industrialisation, which spread beautiful block-printed textiles far and wide.
Today, these stunning designs have found a place at Ruby Jones Home, where we supply a range of popular items created using bespoke block-printed patterns.
So, what does the block-printing process involve — and how can you incorporate it into your interiors?
From carved blocks to detailed prints
Before they find themselves on our shelves (and in your baskets), block-printed pieces are made using traditional printing methods that artists have perfected over centuries.
Block prints can range from small images repeated in a pattern to vast works of art that require a large printing press. In the past, this process was even used to print entire books!
All print runs begin with a wooden block, hand-carved by artisans who typically learn the trade from their families. The carvers create a block (used like a stamp) for each pattern element, so within one pattern, there are blocks for every border, leaf grouping or flower style.
The final product then results in a mirror image of the carving. Done by hand, the process takes a tremendous amount of time, concentration and delicacy — adding to the magic of every design.
Most block-printed textiles come about in three ways: direct, discharge or resist printing.
For direct printing, printers dip a block into a dye and stamp it onto the fabric or roll a brayer (ink roller) over it until they get a fine layer. Then, they roll the brayer directly over the block until an even coat is applied.
Used to create a white pattern on a colourful background, printers place a bleaching agent on the blocks and stamp them to achieve a beautiful print.
Imagine the whole discharge process happening in reverse — that’s resist printing. The wooden blocks are dipped in a waxy paste and stamped to create a pattern before the entire piece is dyed the final colour. Once it’s dried, the paste is removed and the untouched pattern remains.
Although block printing is a labour of love, the results are well worth it: no two prints are ever the same. So, if you’re looking to spruce up your home with something a little different, there’s no better way to inject personality and colour than with dazzling block-printed patterns.
Brighten up your home
As we approach the slightly gloomier months, now’s a great time to bring the sunshine into your home with some unique block-printed pieces.
Amazingly, designers are still finding ways to breathe new life into this age-old printing method with fabulous furnishings and accessories. From charming, elegant wallpaper and fabrics to home accessories that add real panache, block prints are a kaleidoscope of colour and style that can blend seamlessly into your interiors.
Rethink your tablescape or add a statement lampshade to liven up your living room. And don’t be afraid to get creative with pattern combinations — you’d be surprised how much a fun cushion cover or throw can transform the look and feel of a space!
At Ruby Jones Home, we want to bring you interesting, well-crafted pieces that enrich your day-to-day life — and can withstand the test of time. We’ve been stocking unique block print designs for years, working with an artisan block printer based in India to create authentic, one-of-a-kind designs.
By collaborating directly with our supplier, we can pick out bespoke patterns that we know our customers will love. From tablecloths and napkins to cushions and kanthas, we find truly gorgeous pieces that you’ll keep forever!
Drop into our store in Farnham, Surrey and have a nosey at our extensive block-printed products for yourself! Don’t forget, our items are limited edition — once they’re gone, they’re gone. So, nab your favourite patterns in-store or browse some of the collection when you shop online!