Unique block prints
Block printing is an ancient technique used to create patterns on textiles and paper. In Japan and Korea, block printing was used to print religious texts as far back as the 8th century. The earliest form of printing in Europe was woodblock printing on paper. The technique was used as early as the 1440s by Johannes Gutenberg while developing his method for printing books. It’s been a favourite method of producing patterns here at Gudrun Sjödén since the 90s. By continuing to use an age-old technique, we pay tribute to this traditional craft that might otherwise easily be forgotten.
The process of producing block print patterns begins by carving the design in relief into the wooden blocks by hand. Fine-grained wood that does not splinter, like pear and cherry, is most suitable for the blocks. The number of blocks required depends on the number of dyes being used in the printing. The printer usually uses registration marks to ensure the colours align perfectly. The wooden block is then dipped into a dye paste and pressed quickly and skilfully, metre by metre, onto the fabric. This rapidly transforms the fabric into a palette of patterns, shapes and colours.
In Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan in north-west India, block printing has been developed into an art form deeply rooted in tradition and cultural history. This is where our block-printed products are made. In small workshops owned by families who also work on the land. All printing is halted when it’s time to harvest the crops – farming comes first. It also has to be suspended during the monsoon period because the products are placed outdoors to dry. The heavy rainfalls put a stop to that. In other words, fast, large-scale production is not possible. We get something far more valuable instead – unique, personal products, crafted by skilled hands.
Our products are manufactured in India, China, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy, Morocco and Sweden.