What is block printing?

Block printing is the oldest method of printmaking. 

The image is printed with inked relief blocks, which are pressed onto textile or paper (in case of paper, it is placed over the block and the back of the paper is rubbed to transfer the image from block to paper). Multiple print blocks are used for an image that requires more than one color. The blocks can be cut from wood, rubber, foam, or linoleum with special gouges and knives. 

This type of printmaking was widely used in Asia, where textiles or illustrations were printed using this method. Block printing spread from Asia to other parts of the world. It was the Dutch merchants who helped to introduce the craft to the Western-European countries. Printing fabric with wooden print blocks was very popular in several areas of the Russian Empire, and until the 19th-century tablecloths and shawls were printed using that method. 

In India there is a long block printing tradition and patterns from different regions have different characteristics.

 

My rubber print block, Burdock, hand printed with dark gray ink on linen.

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