Block Printing


Block printing is a historic artistic technique spanning culture and many centuries. It is used both for textiles, paper decoration and design. Styles tend to be quite diverse, varying regionally, some images and patterns or graphic and bold whereas others showcase great carving skill with the addition of many details.



Block printing traces as far back as the fifth century BC, and can be summarized as an image produced by the stamp of carved block (linoleum, wood, rubber & old potatoes). While much of the finest work comes from India, there are also many notable East Asian and American artists working today.







Two Notebooks by contemporary artist Kathryn Watson.

A 17th century example of block printing on clothing from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London




Intricate botanical carving block by the talented Jeanne McGee.



Jen Hewett is a contemporary American artist whose gorgeous textiles are a unique admixture of African pictorial traditions, mid century modernism & a great sensitivity to texture, color and patterning.


2 replies »

  1. This is really neat. I was just reading some memoirs my grandmother wrote and she told about using linoleum to make blocks for printing in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Your article is wonderful. Love the pictures.


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