Friday, 20 September 2013

Woodblock printing - on a bigger scale

As I prepare work for a group printmaking exhibition I have wanted to create work of a varied nature while still keeping to the theme of my current work which is to do with the ebb and flow of the tides and the detritus left behind in rock pools. I got this idea that some of the imagery I had been using, such as the seaweed pods and feathers, would look interesting printed on sheer fabric that was able to move in a breeze.

I started by carving large woodblocks on any largish "scraps" of MDF (customwood) I could find in the workshop. I used woodcutting chisels, a drill press and finally a scroll saw to cut out the shapes.To give an idea of scale, the feather is about 50cm long.

I printed the blocks onto sheer voile layed out across my lounge floor. Using water-based inks, I would ink up the block, position it, then stand on it to press it. I had an idea of composition and layout before I started but it more or less just developed as I worked. I have layered up multiple prints, printed onto both sides of the fabric and mixed subtle colour changes to attempt to portray an illusion of depth.

I suspect that this may be very addictive as it was exciting to see the design evolve and it was certainly an interesting way of working to be printing on both sides of a substrate. All I can say is "watch this space."


  1. Its beautiful- what kind of ink did you use? did you apply ink with a brayer or with a sponge or a brush? Did you have to heat set the ink with an iron afterwards? What kind of fabric did you use? Did you test out different fabrics before committing to this one? Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comments and interest. I used water-based printing inks (Flint brand). I applied the ink to the blocks with a soft brayer (roller). I ironed the fabric after printing it mainly because it was looking pretty crinkled but it would have heat set the inks a certain amount. I would expect the inks to be fairly "fast" although I wasn't too concerned in this application. I used nylon voile which is a fabric commonly used for sheers for window curtains. I didn't experiment with different fabrics because I already had this length of voile left over from a project and I like the qualities of the fabric eg. the way it falls, it's sheer quality, etc. I wouldn't have wanted a fabric that had any texture to it because this would take away from the translucent effect I was going for. Hope this is helpful and thanks for taking the time to visit and for your comments.


I'd love to hear your feedback or comments. Thanks for visiting! Please remember to credit when sharing or using any of my images or information.