Woodblock printing in Italyby 159
Guest Blog post from Alberto Mantovani The practice of adding adornment to table linens and soft furnishings using woodblock printing is one that has been used in Romagna for many years. The precise origins of this craft are unknown but it was once associated with peasants. The true spirit of block printed textiles still thrives in the area to this day and is enhanced by the rich culture and tradition of hand block printing that the area is renowned for. The wood blocks are formed of pear wood, not only because it is readily available in Romagna, but also because it is a beautiful soft wood that responds well to being carved. It is common for the designs from this area to reflect the beautiful countryside of Romagna in the form of floral motifs and patterns inspired by nature. It’s not just the complex matrix of the wood block design that takes years to perfect, but creating the print medium requires great skill too. The rusty coloured print inks are formed from combining vinegar and iron oxide in order to make rust which is then mixed with iron sulphate and wheat flour. This method of mixing up colour and hammering the wood block against the fabric means that each piece is beautifully unique. There are subtle nuances between colours that are impossible to create with machine printing and knowing that every single piece has very subtle variations makes this work so precious and coveted. To this day, the surrounding beauty of Romagna still inspires the family-run business at Stamperia Bertozzi and they take their designs from the sea, the colours of the land and the plants that are native to this enchanting area of Italy. AllÓRA is acontemporary homeware brand whose home interior and giftware products centre on showcasing the artisanal works of select Italian craftsmen who remain faithful to the traditional centuries old methods of craftsmanship. www.allorashop.com For more on block printing make sure to read the upcoming Southern issue of Selvedge.
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