Manufacture

Manufacture

How is a hand print produced?

How is a hand print produced?

First of all, needles are used to stretch the fabric straight and taut over the freshly covered printing table, which is four metres long.

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Mixing the colours

Mixing the colours

Depending on the particular requirements, the colours are then mixed again until the desired shade has been achieved. This step is fairly laborious, often taking several hours, and requires an expert sense of colour.

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Colours and shades

Colours and shades

The process begins with a white emulsion, colour concentrates, and the primary colours. These can be mixed to produce any shade.

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Applying the colour to the felt

Applying the colour to the felt

Once they’ve been mixed, the colours are painted onto the felt with a paintbrush. To begin with, smooth striped hand blocks are used for the surface print. The process has something therapeutic about it: dip the hand block in the paint – breathe in – breathe out – dip in the paint – breathe in – breathe out.

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Printing with a smooth hand block

Printing with a smooth hand block

The application of the block leads to overlaps; these are a sign of true hand printing. The technique calls for a steady hand, not to mention a lot of skill and love. Great care is taken to wipe away any excess colour.

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Patterned printing

Patterned printing

Once the surface printing is complete, we can start on the patterned printing. The patterned hand blocks, some of which are very old, are the true jewels of our printer's. They last forever and are still produced in accordance with the old block carving tradition. These blocks are formed by striking fine brass pins into a block of ash or beech wood, which then produce the pattern. The profession of printing block carving has almost died out.

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The printer's hallmark

The printer's hallmark

Each hand block has marker points at the ends, which are key to ensuring a continuous pattern. These points, which form part of the printed pattern, are a special mark of hand printing, showing the printer’s handicraft and characteristic style.

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Drying

Drying

After printing, the strips of material are hung up to dry and are heated until they set. Now the printed goods are ready for further processing.

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