Block Printing: An Age Old Technique with Contemporary Appeal – Sea Tribe
Block Printing: An Age Old Technique with Contemporary Appeal

Following the recent release of our range of block printed cushions, we wanted to give you a little insight into this ancient technique to create stunning textile designs that look at home in interior schemes from coastal to boho, scandi to eclectic.

While the idea of block printing originated around 4,500 years ago in China, the majority of the more detailed block printing on fabric we see today was developed in India.

Printing blocks.  Image via The Design Cart.

The industry has constantly been on the precipice of extinction over the past 200 years, with advances in technology and demand for fast fashion, but today there are still family-run businesses hanging on to the tradition.

Most of these business have been in family hands for generation upon generation, with families specialising in different aspects of the block printing process.

Print design being etched into teak block.  Image by Ichcha.

There are the craftsmen (for they are overwhelmingly male) who chisel intricate designs onto the timber blocks; the families who dip the blocks into dye and stamp them with precision onto the fabric; those whose sole job is to stand waste deep in water, washing and setting the dye onto the fabric.

Block prints being stamped onto fabric.  Image via The Design Cart.

Block printed designs require so much experience, hard work, talent and accuracy; and yet small imperfections are bound to occur when printing is done by hand rather than machine.

This, however, is the beauty of block printed fabrics - each one is unique, without the cookie-cutter predictability found in mass-produced items.

We adore our new block printed cushions and love knowing that each one is as unique as the home it finds itself in.

CLICK HERE to shop our range of one of a kind, block printed cushions.