A venerable craft that has stood the test of time since the 10th century, wood block printing is still being used to produce linen, silk and cotton textiles today. The mesmerizing patterns often carry traditional cultural meanings, as well as legacies of the tribes they originally come from.
First originated in China, the techniques of woodblock printing spread all across Asia. It was once widely used to print on textiles, paper and papyrus. Today, numerous small artisanal cooperatives throughout India and Pakistan are still using woodblocks to dye and color fabrics.
For multi-color patterns, artisans carve a separate block for each color element, and apply the inked blocks individually.
Block printing is one of the earliest methods of textile printing. It takes time and patience for a piece of printed fabric to complete, but the result can be unique and highly artistic, sometimes unobtainable by any other method.
- Watch a video of William Morris' block-printed wallpaper by the Victoria & Albert Museum.
- Shop block-printed home textiles from our online store.