Block printing is a technique that dates back as far as the second century. Used for printing patterns, images, and text onto textiles and paper alike, this technique requires a wood block that has been carved away creating what looks like a stamp, called a relief pattern. Ink is then applied to the block, which is pressed onto the desired material, creating a print. There are three different kinds of block print, including stamping, rubbing, and printing in a press. These methods have been most popular in East Asia, Japan, and China. This technique is still widely used in fashion today.
Tie-dye, which became most popular in the Western world after the 1960’s psychedelic era, is the process of tying and dyeing a knit/woven fabric. One binds only the areas of fabric they would like to dye, and patterns are formed by binding various parts of the the fabric and dyeing these different or alternating colors. The material must be rinsed upon completion, and then the dye is set and the fabric is ready to go!
Versions of this can be seen in fashion and decor dated all the way back to the 500’s throughout South America, Asia, and Africa.
Ikat is a dyeing technique, similar to tie dye, used most commonly in countries in Central/South Americas and Central/Southeast Asia. An Indonesian word for “cord/thread/knot,” patterns are dyed into the threads before the weaving of the fabric. It is one of the oldest forms of textile decoration.
Many fashion lines use Ikat prints in their women’s collections, as well as in home decor.
This past fall I visited Antigua, Guatemala for work. The majority of my days were spent at a world craft show meeting with new artisan groups and attending networking events. However, any few spare I had I was exploring the markets. Whenever I travel I end up getting lost in the local markets for hours just in awe of the amazing native handicrafts. In Antigua, it was the vibrant Huipils and yards of woven textiles. I was talking with an artisan we worked with and she said she could weave about 3-4 feet per day! Holy cow you have to have such patience with this craft…but clearly worth the time for these works of art! As we start to put together our Fall line, I get so excited to be able to share indigenous craft like these with others!
Check out a few of my favorites from the market!
One of our favorite things to do it travel. Our ideal trip would include getting lost in markets trying to find that one unique or one of a kind piece. We love meeting with the makers of our finds and finding out the story behind each piece. Here are a few pictures from a Moroccan adventure we made earlier this year.