Louisa Loakes is a textile artist based in Peckham, London, who takes inspiration from various cultures, including the block printing heritage of Northern India. Although formally trained as a painter at Wimbledon School of Art (now Wimbledon College of Art), she found herself increasingly drawn to print, deciding to specialise in both printmaking and the traditional block printing. Louisa takes “It’s not something you can leave aside if you have it in you,” she says simply. Today, Loakes describes herself as an “artist/block printer”, combining hand painted and block printed designs in a range of fabrics available from The New Craftsmen.
She often uses natural forms and lines to inspire designs, working from sketches or photographs of plants, animals and other features of the environment. She tends to use a muted colour palette, with a splash of brighter tones here and there to bring the design together. In her prints, you can see how traditional Indian motifs and design traditions have informed her work. However, her designs remain modern and fresh at the same time.
Next month, Selvedge will be hosting a workshop by Louisa Loakes, teaching the fundamentals of block-printing. Louisa will be showing participants how to use charcoal as a starting place to create organic patterns that will eventually become a printed linen cushion cover to take home. Choosing from a selection of blocks, participants will use charcoal to experiment with mark making – rubbing and cutting onto paper to find their very own unique abstract composition before cutting onto their own block. The workshop will also involve experimenting with the carved block, twisting and turning until participants reach a design they are happy with. Further adding to their repertoire of techniques, participants will also learn how to cut a linoleum block, transfer it onto natural linen and to create a simple pattern repeat.