Block Printing: The Printed Fabric Bee March Artist!

by Judy Gula

Block Printing: The Printed Fabric Bee March Artist!

by Judy Gula

Posts in Judy’s March 2016 Artist for The Printed Fabric Bee series:

  1. Block Printing Intro
  2. Creating and Embellishing Block Printed Textiles
  3. A Sampling of Block Printed Art Quilts


Leaf block printed quilt detail, free motion stitching

In 2016 there was a “reboot” of The Printed Fabric Bee — instead of creating monthly themed fabrics for the Bee members (with 6" x 6" swatches as a prize for those who commented on the posts) as they had been doing, members of the Bee each took a turn hosting a month focusing on a technique of their choice — resulting a year of free tutorials and classes from national and internationally known surface design artists and teachers!

I represented the month of March 2016. The focus of my posts for The Printed Fabric Bee were on using wooden printing blocks for art quilts and other fiber projects. My first post: ___________

A wooden printing block being hand-carved by a master craftsman in India

Block printing is one of the most ancient forms of decorative art. Artistic Artifacts carries a wide range of wooden printing blocks in our shop. These blocks are hand carved in India, pictured above, and are part of our free trade products: we are proud to be a part of the support of 40 families in India!

For my first post, I’m including a video (below) that was taped while I was running my on-site “pop-up” shop at the 2016 Art & Soul creative retreat in Portland, Oregon. The video begins with me answering a question from my audience: where do wooden printing blocks come from? It then moves into the basics of how to block print.

While traveling around the US vending at shows and teaching, I hear many of the same questions over and over, so I am using this opportunity, both in the video and listed below, to briefly answer the most common ones.

Wooden printing blocks that have been used multiple times

Wooden printing blocks that have been used many times with many colors of paint have their own special beauty.

  1. What type of wood is used? The wooden printing blocks are carved out of shisham wood, which is a locally grown, sustainable hard wood.
  2. Will the white paint come off? The white marking is there to give the carvers, or as they prefer, Block Makers, visual guidance as to where to chisel and carve the wood away.
  3. How do I care for wooden printing blocks? Do scrub them with soap and water once your printing session is over. Use a soft nail brush if necessary to get paint out of the fine lines. However, don’t let your blocks soak in the sink or in a container water. I dry them face down on a dry towel. Know this: they will never be ‘clean’ again — embrace that! We find them beautiful with the hints of paint and use — see photo here.
  4. How can I use them? ... well, the answer to that is for the next blog post!

My next blog post will give you a few ideas of how to embellish your block printed fabric.

Comment to Win!

NOTE: Prize has been awarded. One lucky U.S.-based winner was randomly drawn from the list of all who commented on these March 2016 block printing postings. Comments were tallied here on my Artistic Artifacts blog as well as on The Printed Fabric Bee blog.
March Printed Fabric Bee prize: wooden printing block, textile paint and foam printing mat Leave a comment below to be eligible for this block printing prize!

NOTE: Prize has been awarded. My prize package is pictured above: a gorgeous circle design wooden printing block, a foam printing mat, and a jar of Opaque Artistic Artifacts Textile Paint in the color True Blue.

BUT, if you live near Artistic Artifacts, or are willing to travel to us, you instead have the option to attend my Woodblock Printed Art Quilt class on June 11, 2016 for free if you prefer!

The winner was drawn and notified on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Good luck to everyone! I’ve enjoyed sharing my wooden printing blocks enthusiasm with you all.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.