Monday, 3 March 2014

How to Teach Block Printing?

Last week I taught a four day course on block printing in the surface design department at CPUT. The students were second and third years. Some of them had printed lino before, but not on fabric; I had to teach them the basics of printing, and was also asked to include something about creating repeat designs. 

To start off, I had them cut a piece of lino into geometric shapes, glue these onto perspex, and print a repeat. Then I had them swap their block with someone else, and print a second colour using the new block. 

These were some of the results from the first day:

I don't think any of the students were particularly charmed with their finished prints, but they had learned an awful lot about some of the potential difficulties of the process. Armed with this knowledge, they were better prepared for designing a repeat pattern that could avoid some of the problems they'd encountered.

They'd learned how tricky it is to match up the edges of patterns perfectly, so they were able to place elements to almost match up, but not quite. (Far better to create the illusion of continuity than to have to print a seamless join.) They'd learned not to place elements too far apart, so that ink wouldn't get in to the gaps and the block have to be wiped down between each print. They'd learned that large areas of flat colour are difficult to print smoothly, but that finer details print well.

After surprisingly few cut fingers, they printed these amazing designs!

Some played around with different colour combinations and fabrics.

Some finished quickly, so I set them to coming up with new patterns using their blocks in different combinations.

I learned a lot about teaching, I think they learned quite a bit about block printing, and I now know what it feels like to spend every minute of the day on your feet. Ouch.

(Apologies to those students whose prints I haven't featured here - not all my photos came out well enough.)


Jane McLellan said...

Wonderful results! It's an interesting idea, to start with what not to do.

Heloise said...

Wow - that must have been an intense process but with some interesting results.

Denise Kiggan said...

What an amazing experience for those students. Loved the process you took them through and the progress!