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Creating and Embellishing Block Printed Textiles

Posts in Judy’s March Artist for The Printed Fabric Bee series:

  1. Block Printing Intro
  2. Creating and Embellishing Block Printed Textiles
  3. A Sampling of Block Printed Art Quilts

The focus of my March blog postings for The Printed Fabric Bee are on Block Printing for art quilts and other fiber projects, and I’m including the same posts here on the Artistic Artifacts blog.

Moving beyond my basic demonstration using cotton fabric and textile paint included in my last post, I’m showing additional possibilities for producing surface design textiles using wooden printing blocks, as well as how to embellish them.

Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution block printing on silk

Silk is a beautiful fabric to block print on. Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution (pictured printing above) was featured in the 2014 issue of Quilting Arts Holiday with a silk scarf printing tutorial. View her gorgeous results below.

Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution's block printed silk scarves

Another textile to block print onto is Lutradur. Lutradur is a a spun-bond synthetic material…somewhat like a cross between paper and fabric. Below, I printed snowflakes onto Lutradur to use as a dimensional element for a quilt and used a heat tool to cut them out (learn more).

Block printing on Lutradur
using Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads by Tsukineko for block printing

Instead of using textile paint, I have also had great results using Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads by Tsukineko. Memento Luxe is a fade-resistant ink that can be used on any porous surface: paper, fabric, wood, leather and more. It’s permanent on fabric when heat set, and the color remains even after repeated washings.

Plus, because these Memento Luxe inks are thick and stay wet for a time, I was able to experiment with adding embossing powders for texture (another example below using Metallic Embossing Powder in gold).

Embellishing block printed fabric with embossing powder

Visit my past posting/tutorial with more on using Memento Luxe and embossing powders with wooden printing blocks.

Also by Liz Kettle, the mermaid featured on the cover of this amazing fabric collage journal pictured belowl was block printed onto white leather using Memento Luxe ink. (The block is WB219 Mermaid with Star; it’s currently out of stock but email me and I will put you on the wait list for the next shipment, hand-carved from India!)

Mermaid journal by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

The below sample illustrates a fun embellishing option. I used the WB110 Leaves and Stems block, (full of cool funky details), and then began filling in the pattern using several options more traditionally suited to paper arts.

Using various pens to color block printed fabric

From the top, I used, Derwent Inktense Watersoluble Ink Pencils, Stamper’s Big Brush Pens (by Faber-Castell; these pens contain permanent India Ink) and Gelly Roll Moonlight Pens. I can definitely see further embellishing and fussy cutting pieces of this fabric to use in an art quilt. (Note, I ironed this fabric to heat set the products.)

Also from the paper arts world, we have experimented with using Gelatos on our wooden printing blocks. My colleague Sharon McDonagh is well-known for her love of Gelatos around here, and was the first to give this a try. As she wrote, “Rather than risk it with Judy’s extensive stash, I first tried this with my own block, a mermaid….I realized that with the Gelatos’s stick form and thick consistency, I could color areas of the block selectively. Painting selectively is hard to do when using textile or acrylic paint on your block, as by the time you get to one area, the paint is drying up elsewhere.” She originally experimented on paper (below the print is the wooden printing block used to create it).

Using Gelatos on wooden printing blocks--print by Sharon McDonagh

We have since printed on a variety of fabrics. Below, a mermaid block print by Beth Richardson using Gelatos on Roc-lon® Roc-rol™ Multi-Purpose Cloth™. Visit our past posting Exploring the Possibilities of Gelatos: Part 2, which gives you a lot more information about using Gelatos with wooden printing blocks.

Block printed mermaid by Beth Richardson

So as seen here, you can block print onto a variety of surfaces, and use a variety of paints and colorants. Embellishing your printed textile just continues your fun!

Block printed fabric accented with hand-stitching by Judy Gula

I love stitching, so when thinking about adding to a block print, the go-to choice for me is to hand stitch the motif. Using Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler for my inspiration, one of the birds (printed with a WB213 Primitive Peacock block) in my fabric above was stitched with Tentakulum Handpainted Fibers directly following the design. In the detail photo below, you can see that I couched Tentakulum Gimpe as an outline and then filled in with various stitches using Tentakulum’s cotton 6 strand floss (Mouline) Embroidery Floss.

Detail, Block printed fabric accented with hand-stitching by Judy Gula

Visit my past posting for more on block printing and hand stitching, including how I prepare my block printed fabric for stitching. For those of you out there who love to free motion quilt, how about using your sewing machine to add stitching?

Beading a block printed motif by Judy Gula

Another beautiful way to embellish your block prints is with beading. (I printed this using the WB332 Spoked Geometric Circle block.) Use the motif to guide your beading, as you can see in the close-up photo above, or bead your own complementary design!

By the way, in my opinion the best beading reference book out there is First-Time Beading on Fabric by Liz Kettle. Don’t let that title fool you: this book is an ideal resource for everyone interested in beading on fabric.

Hand-stitched block printed  fabric by Judy Gula

We’d love to see how you use your wooden printing blocks and embellish your printed fabric! We welcome your postings with photos either on the Artistic Artifcacts Facebook page or on The Printed Fabric Bee Facebook page.

My final post next week will show you some of my finished quilts that feature block prints!

Leave Your Comment to Enter Our Random Prize Drawing!

NOTE: Prize has been awarded. My prize package will go to one lucky U.S.-based winner randomly drawn from those who have commented on my March block printing postings (whether here on my Artistic Artifacts blog or at The Printed Fabric Bee blog. I have gathered a gorgeous circle design wooden printing block, a foam printing mat (this work surface is essential to get the best printing results), and a jar of PROfab Opaque Textile Paint in the color True Blue as my prize.

But if you are local to the Virginia/DC/Maryland area (or are willing to travel) and your name is selected, you can instead choose to attend my Woodblock Printed Art Quilt class on June 11 for free!

March Printed Fabric Bee prize: wooden printing block, textile paint and foam printing mat

Leave a comment below to be eligible for this block printing prize!

Posted in Printed Fabric Bee, Quilts, Wooden Printing Blocks | 6 Replies

About Judy

I am a fiber person. I have been involved in fiber art since elementary school. After graduating college with majors in Fashion Design and Business Marketing, I have since learned to weave, sew, dye, stamp, quilt, bead. All those experiences and contacts have bought me to fiber art and mixed media through art quilts and my fiber jewelry. And I inherited the collector gene too - I enjoy hunting and gathering really cool stuff which the casual observer would think has outlived it's usefullness and use it in my art.

6 Comments to “Creating and Embellishing Block Printed Textiles”

  1. Pat Upton

    Oh Judy! You inspire me! I have the phrenology head wood block that has been mere decor until now! I can see using decolourant (sp?) on the wood block and then dying the fabric. Oh my! The possibilities!

    Reply
  2. Kathie Lostan

    Love these blocks! They are fun to print with, clean up easy and best of all they are beautiful to look at.

    Reply
  3. Jeni

    I am an abstract artist and have found the perfect printing blocks at this site. I use a variety of media to enhance the original design including textured acrylic on smooth paper.

    Reply

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