This past Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a block printing class at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville. Although I have been following them on Instagram for some time, ogling every class offering, and going to their artist-led garage sales, this was my first time attending as a student. I was so excited to take the block printing class as it was at the top of my list of classes to take there. It's always sold out months in advance, but a couple last minute cancellations gave me an opening. I grabbed at the chance. It was the perfect timing, really, because I recently purchased a stamp carving tool and tested it by carving on a couple erasers (you can see my second attempt here.) Although my stamps turned out fine, I realized I could use a little help and professional expertise when it came to technique and materials.
When the time came for the class, I arrived a bit early so I could feel more settled and so I would have a chance to look through my sketches for ideas. As soon as I got there I realized that another local artist I follow on Instagram was there as well, and it was fun to meet her in person. It was so awesome to be surrounded by other artists and makers and the inspiration that comes with it. The class started with a brief introduction to the different tools and methods. Then we moved right into sketching and transferring our designs onto the stamp block. I chose an abstract design where the sides fit together a little like a puzzle piece. I took my time with it and tested it several times to make sure I got the impression I wanted. The process of block printing is time consuming, though. At the end of the class, I had barely printed a couple square feet of fabric, if that.
I'll definitely be doing more stamping and printing on fabric, though. It's so much fun to sketch a simple design, carve it in rubber, and then repeat it onto fabric for an interesting effect. It will also give me more interesting stuff to put in my Etsy shop. After all, who wouldn't like a hand-printed coin purse or stuffed animal? It'll take some time to get to that point, but I'm really looking forward to the testing phase. Until then, I'll be ogling the classes and workshops for next year. If you live in the area, I hope you'll join me.