Seek Process: The Landforms Block Print

The Landforms print was inspired by the dry arid hilly landscape of Northern California in the late summer that I hiked a lot of last year. I was equally inspired by the geometric work of sculptor Constantin Brâncusi.

Whenever it is time to develop the next block print, I start by painting out all the ideas in my head. This results in sketchbooks completely filled with different designs, colors, and scales as I experiment to try things and see what works.

Once the design is finalized, it is sent to the block carvers who hand carve each block. For this Landforms design two blocks are required. With hand block printing, this step is often overlooked but it takes tremendous expertise.

In October 2018, while I was in India, the printers and I were able to try out various color combinations. Sometimes what I had in my head originally does not look good in the end and something else I had not considered looks amazing. It is a process!

The Landforms print is on gorgeous soft handloom woven unbleached cotton. Before production could begin for the printing, first the fabric had to be created. This takes one to two months, depending on the design and quantity of the handloom fabric.

Then finally block printing can begin! For this pattern, the filled in camel color was printed first and then after it dried the black outline printed. For both, it happens one block at a time, all by hand. Master printers have a consistent rhythm to their printing that is mesmerizing to watch. While they work the whole space is filled with the sounds of the block coming down on the table and then the banging on top of the block by the printers’ hand.

Once the textile is completed, it is sent to our studio in Bangalore where cutting and stitching. You can learn more about this stage of the process: here. It is always exciting to see the final product. To know and understand how much time, skills, and people contribute to the creation of an item of clothing makes the piece that much more special.

Shop all things hand block printed here.

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