Block printing workshop during Alberta Culture Days

Working on some potato block printing at Alberta Culture Days

Working on some potato block printing at Alberta Culture Days

In an earlier post I mentioned taking a silk screening workshop at the Natalie Gerber Studio for Alberta Culture Days.

Along with that workshop, I also took a block printing class with textile designer Charis Birchall. I wasn’t sure what kind of medium we’d be working with when I signed up for the class… but when I got there it became clear – there was a bag of potatoes on the table!

I haven’t done potato printing in ages! (well I think it was actually apples… same kinda thing..)

An attempt at a herringbone-weave like block print. I didn't register it though.. just kind of freehand.

An attempt at a herringbone-weave like block print. I didn’t register it though.. just kind of freehand.

Like the silk screening workshop – there wasn’t a lot of time to talk about best practices, history, or extensive technique, etc.. we really just jumped right in! However Charis does offer longer workshops where you can learn more and practice more.

We got started right away carving into our potato halves with utility knives and lino-cutting tools, and I cut a sort of leaf-shape, as well as a V-shape. I hoped to do a herringbone kind of pattern with the V-shape, and was pondering a sort of Ottoman-inspired print with the other potato – but the shape was too long and narrow for what I had in mind.

I didn’t mark my fabric to register it properly for the herringbone, so it ended up very haphazard, but I kind of like it actually… it’s organic and funky. I don’t know if I’ll do anything with it though.

My finished block print from Alberta Culture Days

My finished block print from Alberta Culture Days

I was a lot happier with the leaf-type shape, doing a series of full-strength prints, and then between them repeating the pattern with a shadow print where I used only half-strength ink.  I like that it has a cool texture, almost like waves or scales or something…

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Read more about the block printing workshop at Natalie Gerber Studios as part of Alberta Culture Days 2018

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Looking for fabrics? I’m selling off some of my stash. In the next few weeks I’ll be adding more, and maybe some trims and notions too. Perhaps when I have the chance I’ll load up some finished items as well.

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