Pattern Occurring 101-Wood Block Printing

Wood block printing is a technique for printing text and images on paper, leather, wallpaper and textiles.  It has it's origins in China but spread throughout East Asia and then to Europe. Woodblock printing went on to be the method for printing wallpapers right up until early 20th century and is still used by a few traditional firms such as Farrow and Ball and Cole & Son.

To create a wood block print the wood block is carefully prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas to show 'white' are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper leaving the characters or image to show in 'black' at the original surface level. The block was cut along the grain of the wood. It is necessary only to ink the block and bring it into firm and even contact with the paper or cloth to achieve an acceptable print. 

For colour printing, multiple blocks are used, each for one colour, although overprinting two colours may produce further colours on the print.